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Support for Cabinet dips to 59% in new survey

Public support for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Naoto Kan is at 59 percent, according to a survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun, down five points from the previous survey, while its disapproval rating rose two points to 27 percent.

The survey, conducted over the weekend, also asked participants which party they planned to vote for in the proportional representation segment of the House of Councillors election on July 11. Thirty-one percent picked the Democratic Party of Japan, down from 36 percent in the previous survey--conducted June 8-9, right after the Cabinet's inauguration--while 16 percent said they would vote for the Liberal Democratic Party, up from 13 percent.

Regarding the constituency segment of the election, 34 percent said they will vote for DPJ candidates while 16 percent favored LDP candidates.

The nationwide, telephone-based opinion poll randomly contacted 1,738 eligible voters, with 1,088 people, or 63 percent, giving valid responses.

As for the election result, 44 percent said they wanted the DPJ to win a majority in the upper house, down from 49 percent, while 44 percent said they did not, up from 40 percent.

Sixty-one percent said the resignation of People's New Party lawmaker Shizuka Kamei from the post of state minister in charge of financial services and postal reform would not affect the performance of the current administration.

Fifty percent of respondents said it would be better for the PNP to leave the coalition government, while 28 percent said the party should stay in the coalition.

When asked about the ideal makeup of the postelection cabinet, 24 percent proposed a new coalition with the DPJ as its core, and 24 percent wanted a political realignment to produce a new framework but did not specify the preferred role of the DPJ. Only 6 percent supported a continuance of the status quo, a coalition between the DPJ and the PNP.

The survey also asked respondents about the controversy surrounding expense claims by Satoshi Arai, state minister in charge of national policy and consumer affairs. Arai's political organization was found to have registered as its office a condominium where an acquaintance of his resides, and claimed office expenses for the property despite not paying rent.

Though Arai has insisted there is no problem, 80 percent said they do not approve of the practice.

By party, the DPJ's support rate was 38 percent, down from 39 percent in the previous survey, while the LDP's support rate was 17 percent, up from 14 percent.

66% back consumption tax hike

The survey showed that 66 percent of respondents believe raising the consumption tax rate is necessary for the reconstruction of public finances and maintenance of the social security system, far outnumbering the 29 percent who do not think so.

Broken down by party allegiance, there was no great difference on the consumption tax hike issue. Seventy percent of DPJ supporters and 72 percent of LDP supporters said raising the consumption tax rate is necessary.

By age, a majority of respondents in all brackets think a higher consumption tax rate is needed. Most support for the proposal came from those in their 50s, with 70 percent in favor, and the least came from those in their 20s, with 56 percent.

By gender, 73 percent of male respondents and 60 percent of female respondents said a higher consumption tax rate is necessary.

(Jun. 15, 2010)
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