BEIJING — Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who ended five decades of single-party rule when he swept to power in August but stumbled when he confronted a longtime ally, the United States, resigned Wednesday, becoming the fourth straight Japanese leader to leave after a year or less in office.
"Since last year's elections, I tried to change politics in which the people of Japan would be the main characters," he said later Wednesday at a nationally broadcast news conference. But he conceded that his efforts weren't understood. "That's mainly because of my failings," he said.
Hatoyama ran for the premiership on a campaign platform of maintaining a more equal relationship with the United States, which still enjoys enormous support among most Japanese. His decision to challenge Washington over the details of a massive military base relocation plan on the island of Okinawa befuddled Japanese and American analysts and government officials alike.