Cabinet’s support rate 72%

Hot start, high expectations for coalition team

Kyodo News

The support rate for Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s first Cabinet is 72 percent, the highest since the early ’90s, a Kyodo News survey said Thursday.

The Cabinet’s disapproval rating is 13.1 percent, the poll said.

The nationwide telephone survey, conducted Wednesday and Thursday, also said support for Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan has jumped to a record of 47.6 percent.

The Liberal Democratic Party meanwhile was polling at a lowly 18.8 percent.

The highest initial support rate for a Cabinet in recent times was 86.3 percent for the team selected by popular former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in April 2001. That’s followed by 75.7 percent for the team set up by former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa in August 1993.

The Cabinet of Hatoyama’s predecessor, Taro Aso, garnered a support rate of 48.6 percent when it was formed in September last year.

The latest survey, which received valid responses from 1,032 voters, said 44.8 percent of respondents expect the Cabinet to put priority on administrative and fiscal reform and reduce wasteful government spending. About 37 percent want the team to address social security issues, including pension system reform.

Measures to improve the economy and employment were selected by 35.5 percent of respondents, who were allowed multiple responses.

Hatoyama’s Cabinet was inaugurated Wednesday following the DPJ’s historic landslide victory in the Lower House election on Aug. 30.