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Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda has narrowed the gap with Shinzo Abe, the current chief Cabinet secretary, in a popularity ranking of possible candidates to replace Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, an opinion poll showed Monday.

Fukuda scored 31.4 percent, up from 22.1 percent in April, while Abe’s support fell to 40.1 percent, down from 51.9 percent, according to results of the telephone poll conducted Saturday and Sunday.

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