• Kyodo, Staff Report

Democratic Party of Japan heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa has fired a broadside at Prime Minister Naoto Kan that is widely being viewed as a call to resign over the government’s handling of the mega-quake and nuke plant crisis.

Ozawa’s attack, issued in a document to close aides that was leaked to the press, indicates that many members of the ruling party are still loyal to Ozawa and could join the chorus of calls criticizing the prime minister to cater to frustrated voters.

Ozawa also plans to set up a one-on-one meeting with Kan, where the DPJ don will make his demands known, his aides said.

In the paper, handed out Wednesday, Ozawa criticized Kan’s handling of the crisis, saying the government was slow to respond and made the disasters worse.

“No signs of Prime Minister Kan’s leadership are seen in the measures that the irresponsible administration is taking, and the damage from the disaster may further spread,” Ozawa said in the paper.

“The huge defeat in the first half of local elections (earlier this month) means the public is warning Kan’s Cabinet,” he said.

On Tuesday night, Ozawa reportedly pointed out to his close aides that a binding no-confidence motion against Kan in the Lower House would be needed to force Kan to step down.

However, getting such motion passed in the chamber won’t be an easy task for Ozawa, who is under indictment for alleged funds misreporting, and his minions.

The DPJ-led coalition has 311 seats in the Lower House, far more than the majority of 239, meaning 70 to 80 DPJ members would need to support the motion for it to pass, even if they secured opposition cooperation to support the motion.

Ozawa, who represents Iwate, one of the prefectures suffering most from the disasters, has been keeping a low profile since the March 11 monster earthquake and tsunami trashed the northeast coast.

Now that a month has passed, however, the politician nicknamed “the Destroyer” apparently feels the coast is clear to stir up trouble for Kan.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said in a news conference Thursday that he will do his best to handle the crisis while listening to the voices of the party’s critics.

Discontent against Kan and his executives has been resurfacing since the party took a drubbing Sunday in nationwide local elections.

Democratic Party of Japan heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa has fired a broadside at Prime Minister Naoto Kan that is widely being viewed as a call to resign over the government’s handling of the mega-quake and nuke plant crisis.

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