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The public approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi stood at 53.9 percent this week, up 8.7 percentage points from a month ago, according to a Kyodo News survey released Friday.

This marks a rise of 11 percentage points from the all-time low of 42.9 percent registered in Kyodo’s June poll. It is roughly six months since the rating last stood above 50 percent.

Some 30.7 percent of poll respondents said they do not support Koizumi’s Cabinet, down from 40.9 percent in the August survey.

The results of the survey, conducted Thursday and Friday, indicate that Koizumi’s decision to hold summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang on Sept. 17 is a popular one. Koizumi announced late last month that he would meet with Kim to discuss the possibility of resuming normalization talks.

Some 54.8 percent of respondents said they have high expectations for the Koizumi-Kim summit.

But the bilateral issue of highest priority, cited by 48.6 percent of respondents, is the matter of alleged abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents.

The issue of normalization talks progress was cited by just 19.6 percent of respondents.

Some 1,018 out of 1,592 households polled gave valid responses in the random phone survey.

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