November 1, 2009 / 11:01 AM / in 8 years

Japan PM support down 10 pts on policy concerns -Kyodo

(For more stories on Japanese politics click [ID:nPOLJP]) TOKYO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Support for Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has dropped 10 points on concerns over the government’s economic policies and strained security ties with Washington, a Kyodo news agency survey showed on Sunday.

While Hatoyama’s support level remains above 60 percent, such a sharp fall less than two months after the Democratic Party of Japan took office suggests his political honeymoon could be coming to an end.

Hatoyama has pledged to change how Japan is run by curbing the power bureaucrats have over policy and by boosting household disposable income instead of focusing attention on big business.

But his cabinet has been plagued by discord on key policy issues, raising doubts about Hatoyama’s leadership and pushing the government’s support rate down compared with a Kyodo poll taken just after the new administration was inaugurated in mid-September.

The survey showed current support for the cabinet at 61.8 percent.

One concern cited was a dispute with Washington over the relocation of a U.S. Marine air base on the southern island of Okinawa as part of a wider reorganisation of the U.S. military presence in Japan, Kyodo said. [ID:nT264763]

The new government has vowed to steer a more independent diplomatic course from its main security ally.

Nearly 70 percent of respondents said it would be acceptable for the government to change some campaign promises to keep a lid on borrowings given Japan’s public debt is approaching 200 percent of GDP, the biggest among advanced nations, Kyodo said.

Almost 50 percent of respondents said they did not support the appointment of a former senior finance bureaucrat as Japan Post’s new president.

More than 60 percent said the appointment was a contradiction to the Democratic Party’s pledge to end the practice of “amakudari”, or “descent from heaven”, in which former officials parachute into cushy jobs after retirement. (Reporting by Aiko Hayashi, Editing by Dean Yates)

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