Japan PM Naoto Kan's wife 'would not marry him again'

By Roland Buerk
BBC News, Tokyo

image captionNobuko Kan, the Japanese prime minister's wife, has an unusually tough love for her husband

The wife of Japan's Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, has said she would not marry him again in another life.

Nobuko Kan said she would want to do something completely different if she had another chance to choose.

She is renowned for pulling few punches, and her husband has called her his toughest critic.

She is famous in Japan for her elegant kimonos - and sharp tongue. The prime minister once described her as his opposition at home.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo she said she regularly scolded him.

"I've already lived this life once. It would not be interesting to do the same thing again.

"I would rather live a totally different life," she said.

Mr Kan took office in June but his public support has already slumped.

He is in the process of reshuffling the cabinet to head off an opposition threat to paralyse government business.

The prime minister's wife said she supported him by giving him such a tough time at home, and that he preferred going to parliament for question time.

"My husband sometimes says to me: 'I really hate going to the Diet because everyone is so mean and critical, but it's a lot easier being subjected to this criticism at the Diet than fighting at home with you'," she said.

"That's a way to get him out of the house and go to the Diet, so maybe that's the way I can support him."

Mrs Kan has turned the Japanese tradition of publicly downplaying the achievements of loved ones into something of an art form.

Last year she wrote a book called What on Earth will change in Japan now you are Prime Minister, describing him as a hopeless cook who lacked dress sense and leadership skills.

She also revealed she had packed only summer clothes when they moved into the prime minister's residence in case he was rapidly ejected.

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