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Japan Cabinet's approval rating rises to 34% after reshuffle

Publication Date : 04-10-2012


The approval rating of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's recently reshuffled Cabinet increased to 34 per cent, according to a recent Yomiuri Shimbun poll, surpassing the 30 per cent mark for the first time since July.

The Liberal Democratic Party saw its rating rise to the highest mark since becoming an opposition party in 2009 thanks to the effects of its party leadership election.

The popularity of recently launched Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), meanwhile, has started slowing down.

The survey was conducted via telephone interviews nationwide on Monday and Tuesday following the launch on Monday of Noda's third reshuffled Cabinet. It covered 1,634 households, with 944 people, or 58 per cent, giving valid responses.

As the poll indicated negative views toward new Cabinet members and LDP President Shinzo Abe, the results will likely affect political parties' strategies over the possible dissolution of the House of Representatives.

The Cabinet's approval rating rose 7 percentage points from 27 per cent in the previous poll conducted September 15-17, indicating that the reshuffle has been received positively to some extent.

The disapproval rating of the Noda Cabinet was 56 per cent, compared with 63 per cent in the previous poll.

51% disapprove of Tanaka

Respondents also were asked about some of new Cabinet members and DPJ executives.

Among the respondents, 51 per cent disapproved the appointment of Makiko Tanaka to the post of education, sports, culture, science and technology minister, while 35 per cent approved it.

Asked about the reappointment of Azuma Koshiishi to the post of DPJ secretary general, 58 per cent said they did not approve.

Regarding the appointment of Goshi Hosono as DPJ Policy Research Committee chairman, opinions were divided, with 39 per cent supporting it and 40 per cent not.

While Tanaka's appointment was expected to boost the administration's popularity, the poll showed there are deep-rooted reservations about the decision.

Asked about the LDP's new leadership lineup, 53 per cent said they did not support the choice of Abe as party president. Only 40 per cent supported the appointment.

In contrast, 70 per cent approved of the appointment of Shigeru Ishiba to party secretary general.

Asked who would be more desirable as a prime minister, Noda or Abe, 44 per cent chose Abe, while 34 per cent preferred Noda.

Party approval up

The LDP's approval rating rose from 21 per cent in the previous survey to 28 per cent in the latest survey. This figure is the highest since September 2009, when the LDP lost power and became an opposition party.

The DPJ's rating also improved, rising to 18 per cent from 15 per cent in the previous survey. Nippon Ishin no Kai's rate was unchanged at 2 per cent. The rate of respondents who did not support any party was 43 per cent, down from 51 per cent in the previous poll.

Some political observers expect the LDP will now intensify pressure to dissolve the lower house.

Asked which party they would vote for in the next lower house election, 36 per cent said the LDP, up from 31 per cent, while 18 per cent said the DPJ, up from 14 per cent.

The percentage of people who said they would vote for Nippon Ishin no Kai, which was second-ranked in the previous poll at 16 per cent, fell to 13 per cent.

As Nippon Ishin no Kai has received public criticism for holding what appear to be unrealistic policies, its popularity has tapered somewhat.

Asked what the best time would be to dissolve the lower house, 43 per cent said "during an extraordinary Diet session to convene this autumn," 28 per cent said "coinciding with next summer's House of Councillors election", and 21 per cent said "early in an ordinary Diet session to convene in January next year".


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