Japan voters want PM to stay despite election debacle: polls | world | Hindustan Times
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Japan voters want PM to stay despite election debacle: polls

Most Japanese voters want Prime Minister Naoto Kan to stay on in his job, despite plummeting approval ratings after his party's election defeat at the weekend, opinion polls showed today.

world Updated: Jul 14, 2010 12:39 IST

Most Japanese voters want Prime Minister Naoto Kan to stay on in his job, despite plummeting approval ratings after his party's election defeat at the weekend, opinion polls showed on Wednesday.

Newspaper surveys also found that nearly two thirds of respondents favour a debate about raising the sales tax to restore battered public finances, which have seen public debt soar to nearly twice the size of the economy.

Kan's pre-election talk of tax hikes and subsequent backpedalling were seen as a key reason behind the election rout of his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in Sunday's parliamentary upper house elections.

The approval rating for the cabinet of Kan, who took power just five weeks ago, has fallen to only 38 per cent, according to a survey conducted on Monday and Tuesday by the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun daily.

The disapproval rating jumped to 52 per cent, it said.

However 62 per cent of poll participants said Kan should stay on as prime minister, while 28 per cent opposed the idea, the Yomiuri said.

In a separate survey by the Asahi Shimbun, 73 per cent of participants said Kan Japan's fifth premier in four years should stay on in the job, while 17 per cent said he should step down.

But the cabinet's approval rating fell to 37 per cent, while the disapproval rating jumped to 46 per cent, the paper said. Kan took over when his predecessor Yukio Hatoyama resigned in June, with his approval ratings below 20 per cent, over political funding scandals and after bungling a dispute over an unpopular US military base.

At the time of Kan's appointment, polls showed majorities believed a consumption tax hike, from a five percent rate now, was necessary to pay for welfare and social security costs in rapidly greying Japan.

In the Asahi poll, 63 per cent of participants said politicians should continue to discuss a consumption tax hike although only 35 percent supported an immediate increase in the tax.

"The results of this poll reflect the public's feeling that 'We don't want a tax hike the way Prime Minister Kan and the DPJ present it, but discussions about it are necessary'," the paper said.

"It can be said that support for a consumption tax increase may rise if persuasive arguments are presented to voters, including cutting government waste."