He came, he dithered, he went. Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has resigned after less than eight months in office to take responsibility for breaking an election promise to remove a US military base from Okinawa.
Since the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) swept to power in the general election last September, Hatoyama's ratings have begun to plummet and he has resigned along with kingpin Ichiro Ozawa to give the DPJ a chance in next month's Upper House elections.
Besides his policy flip-flops over the marine base in Okinawa, Hatoyama has been involved in a financial scandal over donations made to him by his wealthy mother and has even been criticised for his choice of shirts.
Possible successors to Hatoyama include veteran Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Naoto Kan, lantern-jawed Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and the smooth apparatchik Seiji Maehara, who is the present Transport Minister.
Born in 1947, Hatoyama replaced Ichiro Ozawa as leader of the DPJ earlier last year, after the latter became embroiled in an on-going financing scandal involving political donations from a construction company.
Hatoyama is a rich, blue-blooded, hereditary politician and a grandson of a former conservative party prime minister, Ichiro Hatoyama (1883-1959) - one of the founders of the LDP.
Hatoyama's father Iichiro Hatoyama was Japan's foreign minister for a period in the 1970s. His brother Kunio Hatoyama is now a maverick politician and green-advocate.
Yukio Hatoyama is a graduate of Tokyo University with a PhD from Stanford University in the US.
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Wednesday, June 02, 2010