• Kyodo News


About 72 percent of respondents in a phone survey said Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa should resign over a political funds scandal that has led to the indictment of his secretary, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper said Sunday.

The support rate for Prime Minister Taro Aso’s Cabinet rose 8 percentage points from the previous survey in March to 24 percent, with Aso surpassing Ozawa as more fit to be prime minister for the first time in six months, the daily reported.

According to the poll, 21 percent of the respondents said Aso was more suitable as prime minister, compared with 12 percent for Ozawa of the main opposition DPJ, although the disapproval rating for the current Cabinet remained high at 56 percent.

Concerning whether Ozawa should step down, 39 percent said he should resign “immediately” and 33 percent said he should do so before the next House of Representatives election that must be held by the fall, while 23 percent said he should go into the general election as DPJ leader.

In the Mainichi’s previous survey in which respondents were not asked about the timing of any resignation, 57 percent said Ozawa should step down.

The support rate for the Aso Cabinet, which had been dwindling since its launch last September, rose for the second straight survey following the one in March which was conducted just after Ozawa’s secretary Takanori Okubo was arrested for allegedly taking illegal corporate donations from two political organizations related to Nishimatsu Construction Co.

Japan’s stance against North Korea’s rocket launch may have had an effect on the latest response, as 76 percent said they value Tokyo’s call for a new U.N. resolution and additional economic sanctions on Pyongyang following its April 5 launch of what it claims was a satellite but which countries such as Japan suspect was a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test, according to the report.

The Mainichi survey, conducted Friday and Saturday, covered 1,903 households nationwide with 1,150 people responding.

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