Guardian UK: Japanese Voters Call for Prime Minister To Step Down

Because of his government's handling of the nuclear crisis, a majority of Japanese believe they need a new leader to take the helm, as the country attempts to recover from last month's earthquake and tsunami. Naoto Kan, who has been in office for less than a year, can expect little respite even after the operator of the plant said it hoped to end the crisis within the next six to nine months. The government has yet to say when tens of thousands of people evacuated from the area will be allowed to return home, while the rebuilding effort along Japan's north-east coast has barely begun more than five weeks after the disaster. The government's chief spokesman, Yukio Edano, has said Tepco's target of achieving "cold shutdown" of damaged reactors by early next year would only be met if "everything goes smoothly". Tepco stood by its time frame, despite the release data showing that radiation levels in two reactor buildings were still too high for workers to enter. The new readings were released after US-made robots entered reactor buildings numbers one and three, the first time machines have been employed since the plant was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.

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