The race to pick Japan's sixth leader in five years appeared on Friday to be shaping up as a battle between the most popular contender and a rival backed by a party powerbroker, although with five candidates in play, the outcome was hard to call.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who came under fire for his response to the massive March tsunami and the radiation crisis it triggered, stepped down as ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader, clearing the way for the Democrats to pick a successor on Monday.
"I want to make every effort to realize a society that does not rely on nuclear power," Kan told a news conference. Kan's proposed energy policy shift is backed by most voters, but he was unable to parlay that public support into popularity.
Six Prime Ministers in five years? C'mon, that's not just unstable, that's ridiculous. Japan's economic problems aside, the Fukushima Daiichi plant disaster is still ongoing, and the next PM is going to have to be the one stuck with quarantining a healthy chunk of the northern part of the country for the next hundred years.
I don't see how the next PM will last more than a year, frankly.