Japan PM Hatoyama to step down

      Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has announced that he will step down during a general assembly of DPJ lawmakers. Kyodo News reported that Hatoyama's resignation comes amid plunging public support for his Cabinet and after the Social Democratic Party left his ruling coalition in opposing an accord with the United States to relocate a U.S. base within Okinawa Prefecture . Slightly more than eight months ago, the DPJ formed a new government in partnership with the SDP and the People's New Party after its landslide victory in last summer's general election. Hatoyama's departure also comes only weeks before a House of Councilors election that is widely expected to be held on July 11. The DPJ is desperate to win the election to secure a majority in the chamber, which it needs to enact legislation smoothly.

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