Japan Upper House Set to Censure Two of Noda’s Cabinet Ministers

Japan’s two main opposition parties submitted parliamentary censure motions against two of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Cabinet ministers, and may boycott the next Diet session unless they are fired.

The Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito party submitted the non-binding reprimands to the Upper House today against Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa and Consumers Affairs Minister Kenji Yamaoka. Ichikawa said this week he will cut his salary to take responsibility after a deputy compared the planned relocation of a U.S. military base on Okinawa to rape.

The opposition-controlled upper chamber is likely to pass the measures, undercutting Noda’s efforts to focus on rebuilding from the March earthquake and nuclear disaster. New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi said on Fuji TV last night his party is unlikely to attend parliament with censured ministers still in office. The Diet will adjourn today for the year.

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We hardly knew you: Why Japans PMs dont last long

After serving only 14 months as prime minister, Naoto Kan was replaced by his finance minister, Yoshihiko Noda, as the new leader of Japans ruling Democratic Party of Japan DPJ Monday. Noda is expected to officially be named Japan’s prime minister after a vote in parliament Tuesday, since the DPJ holds a majority in the Japanese parliament.

Noda faces a mountain of challenges: ongoing tsunami recovery, the nuclear crisis and a stagnant and struggling economy.

But Noda is not the first person to try to fix Japan: he is the sixth prime minister to try to lead Japan in five years.

Why the constant turnover?

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