Japanese Prime Minister Steps Down Over Failed Okinawa Pledge

Yukio Hatoyama, Japan's fourth prime minister in as many years, bowed to pressure from his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) colleagues in a bid to boost the party's fortunes in a key election next month.His departure came after he broke an election pledge to move an unpopular but strategically important US military base off of the southern island of Okinawa.Japan's political turmoil could delay efforts to thrash out plans set to be announced this month to cut the country's public debt, which stands at about 200 per cent of GDP, and a strategy to engineer economic growth in an ageing society.Just eight months ago, Mr Hatoyama led his centre-Left party to an historic general election victory over the Liberal Democratic party, which had been in power for five decades, promising to bring change to the government.Having wooed voters by promising to move the base off the island, to ease the burden for locals who have long cfomplained of noise, pollution and crime associated with the US base,