Japan to have new PM soon

Kan has faced increasing demands to resign amid criticism of his handling of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis. Polls show Kan’s approval rating has fallen below 20 per cent.

Critics accuse him of a lack of leadership, while survivors complain of slow relief and recovery efforts.

Economy Minister Kaoru Yosano said Kan told Cabinet members that his days are numbered and that they should be ready to resign en masse next Tuesday.

Kan earlier promised to step down as soon as Parliament passes two key bills, which it is set to do Friday. That would set the stage for a leadership election Monday within Kan’s ruling party and a new Prime Minister, Japan’s sixth in four years.

“(The prime minister) told us that we Cabinet ministers will be resigning en masse on Aug 30,” Yosano told reporters.

“He said each minister should do the utmost to prepare for a smooth handover and take care of pending businesses.”

Former foreign minister Seiji Maehara, who was expected to officially announce his candidacy later, is favourite to succeed Kan.

Maehara met a longtime party supporter and influential business leader to reveal his intention to run.

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