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Poll: Koizumi still top choice as PM

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is the lawmaker best suited to serve as prime minister, according to a recent Yomiuri Shimbun survey.

However, while 14.8 percent of respondents to the nationwide survey, conducted on April 25 and 26, believe Koizumi would be the best person for the job--up from 12.9 percent in the previous poll taken on March 14 and 15--support for the incumbent also has increased.

Prime Minister Taro Aso jumped from eighth to third in the poll, almost doubling his vote from 3.5 percent to 7.1 percent.

Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe came in second again, with 9 percent of respondents selecting him, down from 10.6 percent.

Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa collected 6.5 percent of the vote, up from 6 percent. Ozawa moved up from fifth to take fourth spot, which was previously occupied by DPJ Vice President Katsuya Okada. In doing so, he became the DPJ lawmaker seen as most suited to becoming prime minister.

Of Liberal Democratic Party supporters, Aso (19 percent) was almost as popular as Koizumi (20 percent).

Among DPJ supporters, 26 percent of respondents plumped for Ozawa, up from 22 percent in the previous poll.

Support for Ozawa among DPJ backers, however, was considerably lower than the 40 percent he notched up in a poll conducted on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 prior to the arrest and indictment of Takanori Okubo, his state-funded first secretary, on suspicion of falsifying political funding reports on donations from Nishimatsu Construction Co.

Independents also placed Koizumi top (14 percent) and Masuzoe second (10 percent). They were followed on 4 percent by both Ozawa and Nobuteru Ishihara, the LDP's acting secretary general.

Only 1 percent of independents selected Aso as the ideal lawmaker for the top job.

(May. 6, 2009)
AP News
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