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Naoto Kan Steps Down as Japanese Prime Minister

Naoto Kan, Prime Minister of Japan, resigned from his position on Friday, after being criticized for the way he handled the country’s massive earthquake in March.

In a nationally televised speech, Kan spoke about his decision with the Democrat Party of Japan.

"I feel that I've done everything necessary, under these difficult circumstances," Kan told DPJ lawmakers, in a nationally televised address. "Now I would like to see you chose somebody respectable as the new prime minister."

In June, the former prime minister promised to take responsibility for any issues resulting from the earthquake in June. However, after 15 months in office, Japan’s sixth prime minister in five years stepped down from his office, according to ABC News.

Although the Japanese earthquake that took place in March may have weakened his position, the prime minister had been having issues before then. Yasunori Sone, political science professor at Keio University said Kan was in danger of losing his position before March.

"In some ways, the March 11 disasters prolonged Kan's fate," Sone said, according to ABC news. "He was on the verge of being forced out when the earthquake and tsunami hit. They extended his lifeline."

Some felt Kan did not provide enough direction for a country in need. Koichiro Kokubun, a philosophy professor at Takasaki City University of Economics, has been speaking out in the country about Kan’s failure to lead.

“This is a nation groping in the dark for what its new goals should be,” Kokubun said, according to The New York Times. “Prime Minister Kan’s biggest failure was not pointing a direction.”

One of the biggest complaints has been surrounding the government taking months to inform residents that they needed to evacuate areas that nuclear reactors contaminated with radiation after the earthquake, according to ABC news reports.

On Monday, Kan’s successor will be determined in a Japanese ruling party election, according to The Washington Post.

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