Japan parties reach agreement on renewable energy bill

TOKYO Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:06am EDT

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan leaves the venue after his news conference in Tokyo July 29, 2011. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan leaves the venue after his news conference in Tokyo July 29, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's ruling Democratic Party reached an agreement with the main opposition parties on Thursday to pass a bill designed to promote renewable energy, an opposition lawmaker said, setting the stage for unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan to resign once the law is enacted.

Kan, Japan's fifth premier in five years, repeated on Thursday he was ready to quit once three conditions he had set were met.

Of those, a small extra budget for recovery from the March earthquake and tsunami has been passed and a bill enabling fresh borrowing to fund this year's budget is set to be enacted this month. Passing the energy bill is the third condition.

"The three conditions that the premier has supposedly set will be met rather quickly," Shigeru Ishiba, the policy chief of main opposition Liberal Democratic Party told reporters after he agreed with his counterparts to swiftly enact the renewable energy bill.

"A relationship of trust between the three parties is being developed."

Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, 54, a fiscal conservative who wants to rein in Japan's huge public debt, has emerged as a leading contender to replace Kan.

(Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro, Kiyoshi Takenaka and Yoko Kubota; Editing by Linda Sieg and Michael Watson)

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