Japan’s prime minister has announced his resignation after just eight months in office.
Yukio Hatoyama told a news conference on Wednesday that he would step down over his broken campaign promise to move a US military base off the southern island of Okinawa.
“Since last year’s elections, I tried to change politics in which the people of Japan would be the main characters,” he said in remarks broadcast nationwide.
But he conceded his efforts were not understood, “mainly because of my failings”.
Hatoyama’s approval ratings had plummeted after he backtracked last week on a pledge to move the US Futenma Marine Air Station off Okinawa.
His decision to keep the unpopular base on the island, despite strong local opposition, caused a split in his three-party coalition, with the small Social Democrat party quitting the government on Sunday.
This is another warning sign that our foreign policy assumptions are no longer valid. There is no nice way to put this: the Okinawans want us gone. They are sick and tired of our service members and the hazards of the the bases. They more than sick of their young woman being treated like sex slaves by U.S. servicemembers. The breach came almost five years ago with the rape of an under-aged school girl by two Marines and a U.S. Navy Corpsman. The Okinawans no longer care about the few bad apples; they want to cut down the tree and burn it.
Muscular diplomacy types take note; we have overstayed our welcome in Japan.