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Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011

Online, Kan commiserates with short-lived predecessors

Staff writer

During a live Internet interview Friday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan lamented over little his tireless efforts are appreciated by the public.

Kan is the first prime minister to appear in an online program live — an apparent effort to reach out to Internet users, many of whom are considered right-leaning and critical of Kan's Democratic Party of Japan-led center-left government.

"In the past, there have been prime ministers who resigned and I understand how they feel," Kan said during the interview on the Video News Network program. "They lose their motivation."

The past five years have seen four prime ministers — Shinzo Abe, Yasuo Fukuda and Taro Aso of the Liberal Democratic Party and Yukio Hatoyama of the DPJ — all serving a year at most.

"(The past prime ministers) came to think 'Why don't people understand what I'm trying to do? Why don't they appreciate what I'm doing?' " said Kan. "Eventually, they lost the drive to try" to achieve political progress.

Such is the frustration Kan has felt since he replaced Hatoyama in June, he said, noting this is why he started appearing for interviews and TV programs to speak candidly to the public.

"Even if I speak in (Diet) plenary and committee sessions, (the footage is) edited by the media," he said, adding that what is aired usually focuses only on political power struggles and not the message he wants to convey.

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The Japan Times

Article 6 of 11 in National news

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