TOKYO, Sept 4 Two-thirds of Japanese voters back
new Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda as his call for unity within
the ruling party and conciliatory stance toward the opposition
raised hopes for speedy policy implementation, newspaper polls
showed on Sunday.
That was a sharp turnaround from his predecessor Naoto Kan,
who saw his support fall below 20 percent after suffering a
political stalemate due to rebels within his Democratic Party
and a divided parliament, where the opposition controls the
upper chamber and can block bills.
Noda, a fiscal hawk, became Japan's sixth premier in five
years last week, pledging to quickly tackle fiscal reforms to
rein in huge public debt -- now twice the size of the country's
$5 trillion economy -- but with an eye on growth.
Support for the Noda government was 67 percent, according to
a poll by the Nikkei business daily, compared with 19 percent
for Kan's cabinet in the newspaper's previous survey conducted
in late July.
Polls by three other major newspapers, the Yomiuri, Mainichi
and Asahi, showed that support for Noda, who is tasked to forge
a new energy policy while ending a radiation crisis caused by a
deadly tsunami in March, came to 65 percent, 56 percent and 53
percent, respectively. Another poll by Kyodo news agency showed
similar results on Saturday.
In the Nikkei survey, 36 percent of those polled said they
support Noda's Democratic Party. That compares with 30 percent
in favour of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP),
boding well for the DPJ's fortunes in the next election.
A lower house election is not mandated until late 2013 and
Noda on Friday ruled out a snap election for now.
In the previous Nikkei poll in July, 32 percent of those
polled supported the LDP, compared with 25 percent for the
ruling Democratic Party.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Yoko Nishikawa)