Japan's unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan may step down by mid-August if parliament passes key bills for disaster reconstruction, senior lawmakers said Sunday.
Japan's unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan, seen here June 14, may step down by mid-August if parliament passes key bills for disaster reconstruction, senior lawmakers have said
Kan pledged earlier this month to resign soon, but he has also demanded that bills on reconstruction from the March 11 quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster are passed first, along with legislation to promote renewable energy sources.
"Once things settle in late July or early August, I think the conditions for the prime minister to step down will be there," Jun Azumi, a senior member of Kan's Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), told reporters.
Japan's centre-left government last week pushed through an extension of the parliamentary session by 70 days to the end of August.
The DPJ and its coalition partners plan to use the time to pass the key reconstruction bills -- another budget bill on rebuilding the disaster areas, as well as a bill to issue bonds for the current fiscal year to help pay for the recovery efforts.
Kan -- who started his political life as an environmental campaigner -- also wants to pass a bill to promote renewable energy, having pushed for a rethink on atomic power since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster.
Once these bills get passed, "That'd be about what the prime minister should be responsible for," DPJ secretary general Katsuya Okada told reporters.
"I would like to see opposition parties pass these bills unconditionally," he said during a Fuji TV debate show.