44% back Hatoyama as prime minister

Kyodo News

Yukio Hatoyama, the new president of the Democratic Party of Japan, received support from 43.6 percent of respondents as their preference for the next prime minister in a survey released Sunday, exceeding Prime Minister Taro Aso, who was backed by 32 percent.

The nationwide telephone survey was conducted Saturday and Sunday by Kyodo News after Hatoyama was elected to head the DPJ.

In a survey in late April, Aso exceeded Hatoyama’s predecessor, Ichiro Ozawa, by 13.7 percentage points.

The latest survey, which received responses from 1,026 eligible voters, also found that 82.4 percent of the respondents believe Ozawa will continue to exert influence over the DPJ, indicating public suspicion of a “dual power” system within the DPJ.

On the election for of the party’s new president, 49 percent said it will not change the DPJ, while 31.9 percent responded it will have a positive impact and 16.2 percent said it will be a negative.

The approval rating for Aso’s Cabinet edged down 1.8 percentage points from the previous survey on May 11 and 12 to 26.2 percent, while the disapproval rating rose 5.1 points to 60.2 percent.

Asked which party they will vote for in the proportional representation section in the next House of Representatives election, 25.8 percent said Aso’s Liberal Democratic Party, while 37.3 percent said the DPJ.

On party approval, 25.2 percent supported the LDP while 30 percent supported the DPJ.

Demand for substance

The nation’s top business leaders are urging new Democratic Party of Japan President Yukio Hatoyama to provide concrete substance for his economic policies.

“It is hard to eradicate the perception that the two contenders have not held adequate discussions on what policies they would follow once elected, as the leadership election period was limited,” Fujio Mitarai, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), said in a news release.

Mitarai was referring to the fact that the DPJ held its presidential election less than a week after Ichiro Ozawa announced he was resigning over the fundraising scandal that has embroiled his key aide.

“I want new leader Hatoyama to speedily draw up policies on the course he would put this country on and what measures he would take to realize such a vision,” Mitarai said.