Support for new Japan PM's government less than 50% - survey

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Fumio Kishida, Japan's prime minister, speaks during a news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, October 4, 2021. Toru Hanai/Pool via REUTERS

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TOKYO, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Support for the government of Japan's new prime minister is less than 50%, much lower than that of the previous government when it took power, a survey showed on Tuesday, a day after he took office and surprised many by calling an election on Oct. 31.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a former foreign minister, unveiled his cabinet on Monday, mixing allies of a former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and finance minister, Taro Aso, in key posts with relative political novices, in line with a promise to give younger lawmakers a chance.

Just 49% of respondents said they supported his government, well under the 64% who supported the government of his predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, just after he took office, according to a poll conducted by the Mainichi newspaper, while 40% said they did not support the government.

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Suga stepped down after his government came under fire for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) sought a fresh face ahead of the general election.

Of those who didn't support the government, 58% said "because nothing in politics will change", while 20% said they expected nothing from its policies.

Asked what they thought of the cabinet, just over half said they had no expectations of the ministers, while only 21% said they did.

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Reporting by Elaine Lies

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