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'Support for Japan PM plunges amid scandals'

Support for Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi's cabinet has plunged with his disapproval rating nearly matching his approval marks.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 09:30 IST

Support for Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's cabinet has plunged amid a series of scandals, with his disapproval rating nearly matching his approval marks, a poll showed on Monday.

Koizumi, who won a landslide victory in September, enjoyed support from 45 per cent of voters, down 14 points from the previous survey in December. Disapproval stood at 43 per cent, the poll by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.

The plunge in support is believed to have been caused by a series of scandals including alleged illegal securities trade and other wrongdoing by Internet firm Livedoor, the economic daily said.

Livedoor's flamboyant 33-year-old founder Takafumi Horie, once seen as an icon of a brash new Japanese business culture, ran unsuccessfully for parliament last year with support for, although not on the ticket of, Koizumi.

Other problems facing the government include reinstating a ban on US beef imports only a month after lifting the embargo and bid-rigging at an agency in charge of military facilities.

The government has also come under fire for failing to stop a cost-cutting architect who admitted last year to falsifying quake-resistance data for dozens of buildings in the earthquake-prone country.

The Nihon Keizai said the February support rating was the lowest since July last year when the government was in disarray over Koizumi's plan to break up the massive post office.

Support turned up in August in a prelude to his Liberal Democratic Party's historic victory in September 11 general elections, in which the premier cast himself as a champion of reforms.

The latest poll was taken over four days to Sunday and questioned 1,533 eligible voters.

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 09:30 IST