Japan PM Meets with Party Kingpin

El primer ministro japonés, Yukio Hatoyama, visita la isla para presentar un plan de reubicación de la base.

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has met for the second time in two days with the secretary-general of his political party.

The center-left leader and Ichiro Ozawa, the ruling party's chief election strategist, did not speak to the hundreds of reporters crowding the parliament after the meeting.

Mr. Hatoyama vowed Tuesday that he will continue in his post despite his broken campaign vow to move a U.S. Marine base off Okinawa. His approval ratings have also been sagging in recent months.

Recent polls indicate approval ratings for Mr. Hatoyama's Cabinet have fallen as low as 17 percent, while disapproval ratings have risen as high as 75 percent.

Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima announced Sunday that her party is quitting the ruling coalition because it does not want to violate the public's trust.

Mr. Hatoyama fired her as consumer affairs minister Friday when she refused to approve a deal with the U.S. to leave the base on Okinawa, reversing his original plan.

The prime minister's Democratic Party still enjoys a strong majority in the lower house of parliament, but the Social Democrats' departure is a setback ahead of upper house elections expected in July.

Mr. Hatoyama campaigned last year on a pledge to move the Futenma base off of Okinawa, where residents complain about the U.S. military presence. Washington wanted to stick to a 2006 deal with a previous Japanese government to relocate the base within the island.

Last week, Japan and the United States announced jointly that they will follow the 2006 plan. Mr. Hatoyama apologized to his supporters for failing to follow through on his campaign promise.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.