Japan PM says won't resign as minister to quit ruling party

Japan PM said it was not time now to call a snap election because priority was on measures to help an economy in recession.

Japan PM says won't resign as minister to quit ruling party

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said on Monday he would not resign despite a series of public opinion polls showing support for him falling below 20 percent.

"I won't abandon the leadership," he told Fuji Television.

He also said it was not time now to call a snap election because priority was on measures to help an economy in recession.

Aso has been struggling to exert leadership on boosting the economy ahead of an election for parliament's powerful lower house that must be held this year.

Meanwhile a former Japanese financial services minister said on Monday he would quit the ruling party, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Taro Aso, whose leadership is fraying as he tries to revive the recession-hit economy.

Yoshimi Watanabe, a vocal critic of Aso's policies, told reporters he would hand in a letter to the party on Tuesday.

Aso, with a public support rate short of 20 percent, is struggling to keep control of his long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ahead of an election for parliament's powerful lower house that must be held this year.

Speculation has simmered that some LDP lawmakers, including Watanabe, could bolt the LDP and join the opposition in blocking budget-related bills in parliament over the coming months.

Reuters
Last Mod: 12 Ocak 2009, 11:33
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