After just 15 months in office, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced his resignation Friday following a wave of scrutiny over his leadership of the country following its earthquake and tsunami in March. "I feel I did what I needed to do while being placed in a harsh environment," Kan said at a party meeting Friday. "It may be because of my optimistic nature, but I think I did what I could do in this given environment." Kan's departure paves the way for Japan's seventh leader to take power since 2006. According to The Washington Post, "Kan’s decision to step down, the fulfillment of a pledge he made in early June, marked the inevitable endpoint for a leader who failed to galvanize a wounded nation. And his departure further extends Japan’s search for a prime minister capable of tackling, rather than getting tackled by, its many fundamental problems." The country's next leader will be chosen on Monday during a ruling party meeting and will have to deal with the country's economic woes and reconstruction efforts. As the Post notes, "Japan still has a divided parliament, a shrinking population, a soaring debt, a strong yen, and potential energy shortages that could force corporations overseas."
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