Japan first lady: wouldn't marry Kan if reincarnated

Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:05am EST
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TOKYO (Reuters) - Prime Minister Naoto Kan's wife Nobuko, one of the struggling Japanese leader's harshest critics, said on Wednesday she wouldn't want to marry him if she had another life to live.

Nobuko was quick to add, however, that the reason had less to do with her husband of 40 years than her desire to do something different if she were reincarnated and had the chance.

"I've already lived this life once. It would not be interesting to do the same thing again," Nobuko, who is also her husband's cousin, told a lunch meeting with reporters.

"I would rather live a totally different life."

Kan, whose voter ratings have sunk to about half the 60 percent enjoyed when he took office last June, is burdened by a divided parliament, a fractious ruling party and a massive public debt that constrains his ability to boost the weak economy.

Nobuko said she did her bit to help out, not with comforting words, but by making the job of answering tough questions in parliament look easier by giving him an even tougher time at home.

"In the mixture of scolding him and cheering him, I spend more time scolding him. Maybe I should go a little easier on him," said Nobuko, 65, who like her spouse was a grassroots activist.

"But this is how he puts it. 'I don't like parliament that much. But it is better than arguing with you.' And then he goes off (to parliamentary debate)."

Nobuko said that unlike some of Japan's recent leaders, her husband won't call it quits just because of low ratings and other headaches.