US vows to work with Japan's next prime minister
The United States pledged to work with the next government of Japan following Wednesday's resignation of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who came under heavy criticism for allowing the US military to remain on Okinawa, DPA reported.
"We respect the Japanese political process and Prime Minister Hatoyama's decision to step down," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. "The selection of Japan's next prime minister is a matter for the Japanese people and political process."
Hatoyama's popularity had declined steeply during his eight months in office, in large part due to him reneging on a campaign promise to relocate the American presence on Okinawa.
Hatoyama announced earlier this month his government would stand by a previous agreement with the United States to shift the military base to a less populated area of the island, drawing sharp criticism from Okinawans tired of the heavy US presence.
"We will continue to work closely with the government of Japan, and the next prime minister, across the broad range of issues facing our two nations," Gibbs said.
Hatoyama has been under pressure from members of his own Democratic Party of Japan who fear his remaining in office could harm the party in July elections.
The DPJ is to meet Friday to chose Hatoyama's successor.