By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Japan's finance minister was voted ruling party leader Monday and soon will be the prime minister, taking on a mind-boggling mix of challenges: tsunami recovery, a nuclear crisis and a bulging national debt, to name a few.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced Friday he would resign after almost 15 months in office amid plunging approval ratings over his government's handling of the tsunami disaster and nuclear crisis.
Japan's nuclear industry is eager to restart reactors shut down for maintenance or switched off after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami caused explosions and meltdowns at a power plant in the northeast and sparked a nationwide panic over radiation exposure.
A system to clean massive amounts of contaminated water at the site of Japan's nuclear disaster was shut down Saturday, just hours after it began full operations, because a component filled with radioactivity much more quickly than expected.
China's ban on shipments to Japan of rare-earth metals that are crucial for advanced manufacturing threatens to undermine the Japanese economy, a top finance official said Tuesday amid a territorial row between the rival Asian powers.
Banri Kaieda, head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), one of Japan's most powerful agencies, said, "There is no change in our view that [nuclear power] is safe."
He said nationwide inspections this week have found that Japanese nuclear power plants are now prepared for accidents as severe as the one that crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi.