The jump in approval ratings for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s reshuffled Cabinet in several media polls is a vote of confidence from the public, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Wednesday.

Support for the prime minister’s new team, selected Monday, surged to levels around 65 percent in several polls, the highest in the past year.

According to a Mainichi Shimbun survey released Wednesday, the approval rate was 65 percent, up 11 points from the previous month. The approval rate for Shinzo Abe, the new secretary general of Koizumi’s Liberal Democratic Party, was 76 percent.

Sixty-five percent of respondents gave the thumbs up to the Cabinet in a poll by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, while the comparative figure in a Yomiuri Shimbun survey was 63 percent.

A Kyodo News survey recorded public support at 66.8 percent.

“If the numbers indicate a change in the past few days, we take them as a sign of the public’s considerable support — if not total approval — of a series of personnel decisions following (Saturday’s) LDP presidential election,” Fukuda told a regularly scheduled news conference.

Fukuda also announced the selection of 23 senior vice ministers.

Of the 23, three are New Komeito members and one is from the New Conservative Party, the LDP’s two partners in the ruling coalition.

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