26 Aug 2011

Much-maligned Japanese PM resigns

9:22 pm on 26 August 2011

Japan's beleaguered Prime Minister Naoto Kan has announced his resignation, clearing the way for the country's sixth leader in five years.

Mr Kan has been criticised for failing to show leadership after the March earthquake and tsunami, and ensuing nuclear crisis.

His decision to stand down was widely expected, amid falling approval ratings and party infighting.

In June, Mr Kan pledged to quit if parliament passed three key pieces of legislation, which it did on Friday.

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan will choose a new leader early next week.

Mr Kan's successor as party head will almost certainly become Japan's next prime minister.