Japan Stocks Fall After Hatoyama Resigns

Japanese shares ended lower Wednesday after embattled Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama resigned.
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TOKYO (

TheStreet

) -- Japanese shares ended lower Wednesday after embattled Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama resigned.

Hatoyama stepped down to improve his party's chances in an election next month after his popularity plunged over a broken campaign promise to move a U.S. Marine base. He came to power just eight months ago.

He is the fourth Japanese prime minister to resign in four years.

The Nikkei 225 stock average in Tokyo lost 1.1% to finish at 9,603.24 on Wednesday after initially rising on news of Hatoyama's resignation.

"Since last year's elections, I tried to change politics in which the people of Japan would be the main actors," Hatoyama told a news conference broadcast nationwide. But he conceded his efforts fell short and people stopped listening to him.

"That's mainly because of my failings," he said.

The Democratic Party of Japan's powerful No. 2, Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa also stepped down in a desperate attempt to bolster the DPJ's sagging reputation ahead of upper house elections that will likely be held July 11.

His party said it would hold a meeting Friday to select a new leader, who will officially become the next prime minister after mandatory parliamentary votes expected early next week.

Analysts said Finance Minister Naoto Kan or Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada were the most likely candidates to succeed Hatoyama.

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