• Kyodo


The public approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet jumped 8.6 points to 44.4 percent after the reshuffle, a poll showed Friday.

The nationwide telephone survey conducted by Kyodo news on Thursday and Friday showed a turnaround from mid-July, when the Cabinet’s approval rating sank to its lowest since Abe began his second stint as prime minister in 2012.

The rock-bottom ratings were blamed on scandals, including allegations of cronyism against him.

The survey said 45.5 percent of the respondents had a favorable view of the new Cabinet and 39.6 percent did not. The disapproval rating was 43.2 percent, down 9.9 points.

In Thursday’s reshuffle, Abe appointed veteran lawmaker Taro Kono as foreign minister and Seiko Noda as internal affairs minister, and reinstated Itsunori Onodera as defense chief, while reappointing the key economic ministers.

The survey said 55.6 percent have positive expectations for Kono, known as an ardent debater on administrative reform, and 61.6 percent had positive expectations of Noda, who in 2015 challenged Abe for the Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership. She has been touted as Japan’s potential first female prime minister.

The majority of respondents remained opposed to any constitutional amendments under Abe’s government at 53.4 percent, down 1.4 points, while 34.5 percent supported amending the charter.

As for who should lead the main opposition Democratic Party following Renho’s resignation last week, 40.0 percent said veteran lawmaker Seiji Maehara is qualified to be leader, while 36.7 percent supported Yukio Edano, a former chief Cabinet secretary.

Maehara is a former foreign minister known for his conservative views on defense and other issues.

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