News, Politics

Japan Gets A New Prime Minister

Yoshihiko Noda, Japan's new prime minister.
Yoshihiko Noda, Japan's new prime minister.

Japan has a new prime minister.

In August, Naoto Kan stepped down as the country’s prime minister.

He said he had failed the country by not doing a good job of helping Japan recover after it was rocked by an earthquake last March.

On March 11, the fifth most powerful earthquake in history took place in the sea off the coast of Japan. It caused a tsunami, or giant sea wave. Waves up to 10 metres high flooded the coast of Japan, causing massive damage to many homes and to a nearby nuclear energy plant.

In addition to the problems caused by these natural disasters, Japan also has the largest debt of any country in the world. Debt is the money the country owes to other countries and to banks.

Many people feel that Kan failed to act fast enough to fix some of the issues resulting from the natural disaster and from the country’s high debt. So, after only seven months, Kan resigned as Prime Minister of Japan.

A new prime minister was appointed by Japan’s Emperor. Yoshihiko Noda became the country’s new prime minister on Sept. 2. Everyone hopes he will do a better job helping Japan’s people cope with the challenges that face it.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Over the last five years, Japan has had six different Prime Ministers; Canada has had one: Stephen Harper. What is good and bad about having the same person lead a country for several years? What problems could arise if a leader was frequently replaced? 

Reading Prompt
Today’s article included several Japanese names. How were you able to sound out these words? Reread these words now and think about the reading strategy that you are using to help you decode.

Primary, Junior, & Intermediate
Predict the meaning of and rapidly solve unfamiliar words using different types of cues, including: graphophonic (phonological and graphic) cues (e.g., onset and rime; syllables; similarities between words with common spelling patterns and unknown words; words within words).(OME, Reading: 3.2).

Grammar Feature: Independent and Subordinate Clauses
An independent clause is a group of words that can stand alone as a complete sentence because it expresses a complete thought. A subordinate clause is a group of words that can’t stand alone because they do not. The sentence below is separated into two parts, showing the independent and subordinate clauses.

Waves up to 10 metres high flooded the coast of Japan, causing massive damage to many homes and to a nearby nuclear energy plant.

Underline the independent clauses in each of the following examples.

1. Tommy missed the bus because he couldn’t find his tickets.

2. When the concert began, everyone started to yell and scream.

3. Although he did his homework, he was not ready for the test.

4. She arrived at her friend’s house just in time to watch the show.