Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has announced he is resigning after a little more than a year in office.
Japanese media reports said Kan announced he is stepping down as head of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, effectively ending his tenure as prime minister.
The party will choose a new leader on August 29, who will then almost certainly become prime minister.
Kan's successor will be Japan's sixth prime minister in five years.
Kan has faced strong criticism over his response to the March 11 earthquake, tsunami, and the ongoing nuclear crisis, and a struggling economy.
Potential candidates to succeed him are former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, and Trade Minister Banri Kaieda.
compiled from agency reports