Support for Japan PM plunges to new low at 21%

Support for the cabinet of Japan`s centre-left PM Naoto Kan has fallen six points to 21%.

Tokyo: Support for the cabinet of Japan`s
centre-left Prime Minister Naoto Kan has fallen six points to 21 percent, the lowest level since he took office half a year ago, a newspaper survey said Tuesday.

The poll by the liberal Asahi Shimbun daily showed that
the disapproval rating for Kan`s government had shot up to 60
per cent, eight percentage points higher than in a survey by
the newspaper last month.

Kan has been under fire ever since he took the post in
June, especially over foreign policy, including his handling
of a territorial row with China.

But 57 per cent of the more than 2,000 voters polled at
the weekend said they wanted Kan to stay on as premier anyway
-- a position the Asahi said was probably due to the absence
of a strong alternative leader.

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in August last year
ousted the conservative Liberal Democrats in a landslide,
ending their more than half century of almost uninterrupted
rule in Japan.

The DPJ`s first premier, Yukio Hatoyama, stepped down
after less than nine months after his approval rating plunged
below 20 per cent, mainly over his mishandling of a row with
Washington over a controversial US air base.

The DPJ has also been weakened by political funding scandals, including one involving veteran heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa, who has so far resisted a push for him to speak before a parliamentary ethics panel.
The Asahi poll showed that 83 per cent of respondents
disapproved of the way the DPJ has handled the scandal
surrounding Ozawa, a long-time backroom fixer dubbed the
"Shadow Shogun" of Japanese politics.
Nearly 70 per cent said they believed Ozawa must face
parliament to explain his position over the accusations of
irregularities, which he denies.

The Asahi polled 2,019 voters on Saturday and Sunday.

Bureau Report