Japan PM faces party rebellion as no-confidence vote looms


Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan faces a rebellion in his party, media said on Wednesday, that while not enough to unseat him in a no-confidence motion will weaken his struggle to cope with the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.
Analysts have said Kan should survive the vote in parliament, expected to be on Thursday, but that he would still face big hurdles pushing policies through a divided parliament, including an extra budget to pay for rebuilding after the deadly March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Adoption of the motion would force Kan either to resign with his cabinet or call a snap lower house poll. While he has refused to rule out the latter, analysts say holding an election would be tough while part of the country is still trying to recover from the nuclear and natural disasters.
Rivals in Kan’s Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), many of whom back scandal-tainted powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa want the premier to quit before the vote.
That could clear the way for a new leader who could form a coalition with the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party to break a parliamentary logjam.
The Asahi newspaper said more than 50 backers of Ozawa, who has been charged over a funding scandal, planned to vote in favour of the no-confidence motion. That would fall short of the more than 70 DPJ votes needed to pass the motion in the 480 member lower house, where the Democrats have 305 seats.