Cabinet’s support rate rebounds after Noda’s reshuffle

Kyodo

Public support for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Cabinet has risen to 32.0 percent, up 4 percentage points from May, a Kyodo News opinion poll showed Tuesday.

The disapproval rate stood at 50.0 percent, down from last month’s 58.1 percent.

The random telephone poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday after Noda carried out a minor Cabinet reshuffle, including replacing the censured defense minister with an expert from the private sector on security issues, Satoshi Morimoto. Replies were received from 1,024 voters.

Slightly more than 60 percent viewed Morimoto’s appointment as positive despite criticism from both ruling and opposition lawmakers who say that because he does not hold elected office, he lacks a public mandate and therefore is unfit to lead the Self-Defense Forces.

The poll also found that 50.6 percent of respondents are opposed to restarting two idled nuclear power reactors in Fukui Prefecture, while 39.8 percent support it.

Turing to politics, 60.6 percent want Noda to dissolve the Lower House for a general election if he fails to pass the consumption tax increase in the current legislative session, which is scheduled to end June 21.

The planned two-stage hike in the tax rate was opposed by 56.2 percent and supported by 41.5 percent.

Asked when the Lower House election should be held, 38.3 percent, the largest group of respondents, called for simultaneous elections of both Diet chambers next summer when the terms of Lower House lawmakers will expire, while 30.1 said it should be held “as early as possible” and 26.0 percent “by the end of the year.”

The poll found 29.8 percent of respondents are planning to vote for the Liberal Democratic Party in the next general election, up 7.4 percentage points from May, and 16.2 percent for the Democratic Party of Japan, up 1.2 points.