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The resignation of Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kunio Hatoyama last week is yet another indication of Prime Minister Taro Aso’s lack of leadership. More than a month before, Mr. Hatoyama had said during Diet deliberations that he was against retaining Mr. Yoshifumi Nishikawa as president of Japan Post Holding Co. (His denunciation of Japan Post’s decision to sell 70 Kampo no Yado inns and nine housing facilities to a subsidiary of leasing company Orix Corp. for a mere ¥10.9 billion scuttled the deal.) He then escalated his rhetoric in public against retaining Mr. Nishikawa as Japan Post president, giving the impression that the Cabinet was in a state of confusion. Mr. Aso could and should have taken some action against Mr. Hatoyama or Mr. Nishikawa earlier.

Mr. Hatoyama had the authority to rescind Japan Post’s expected decision to retain Mr. Nishikawa as president at a June 29 shareholders’ meeting. As late as June 12, Mr. Aso urged Mr. Hatoyama to accept the retention of Mr. Nishikawa in exchange for apologies from Mr. Nishikawa. Rejecting Mr. Aso’s call, Mr. Hatoyama tendered his resignation.

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