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UPDATE1: U.S. gov't mum on Kan's survival of no-confidence motion.

WASHINGTON, June 2 Kyodo


The U.S. government declined to comment Thursday on Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan's survival of a no-confidence motion in the Diet, while some pundits say it is frustrating to see what is going on in Japanese political circles.

''That's really an internal matter for Japan,'' State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in a daily briefing.

A senior official in the administration of President Barack Obama, who asked not to be named, read out a cut-and-dried statement, saying, ''The U.S.-Japan relationship is strong and we are working together closely on a broad range of bilateral, global and regional issues.''

Obama has repeatedly made clear his full confidence that Japan will recover from the March disaster and emerge stronger than ever and that the United States strongly supports Japan's reconstruction efforts, the official added.

Defense Department deputy spokesman David Lapan said the United States will keep tabs on developments in Japan in arranging the date for a security meeting of their foreign and defense ministers planned late this month.

Although the two countries are trying to arrange the so-called ''two-plus-two'' talks on June 21 in Washington, Lapan told reporters that the date has yet to be finalized.

But Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki said the security talks plus Kan's visit to the United States in the first half of September are expected to take place as planned.

Sheila Smith, a Japan expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the United States has wholeheartedly offered support for Japan's recovery from the aftermath of the catastrophic March 11 earthquake and ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

''So, I think, in that sense, watching what's happening in Tokyo is maybe a little frustrating,'' she said.

On the other hand, Smith said Kan, who indicated Thursday he will step down once he makes tangible progress in containing the nuclear crisis and rebuilding the country, clearly understands that people are frustrated with his leadership.

''But I think he does feel as do many people in the government and outside: this is not a time to be shaking up the government,'' she said.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jun 6, 2011
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