Bloomberg News

Japan’s Voters Split on Incoming Prime Minister Abe, Poll Shows

December 18, 2012

Public expectations for incoming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are split after his Liberal Democratic Party won a landslide victory, a poll showed.

The LDP won 294 seats in the Dec. 16 election for the 480- member lower house of parliament, crushing Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan, which won 57 seats. With its coalition partner, the LDP gained a two-thirds majority that will enable it to pass legislation without the approval of the upper house.

Just over 50 percent of voters view Abe positively, while 44 percent have no expectations for him, Kyodo News said. A third of respondents said they were happy with the result of the election, compared with 19.6 percent who said they were not and 47.8 percent who said they didn’t know.

Abe previously served as prime minister in 2006-2007, stepping down after a year in office due to illness. He has pledged to introduce drastic monetary easing to end deflation and weaken the yen, and to boost public works spending.

About 33 percent of respondents to the Kyodo poll said the LDP and Komeito should form a government, while 38 percent said they should be joined by the Japan Restoration Party, led by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara. Only 15 percent said the DPJ should join the coalition.

Kyodo carried out the poll by telephone on Dec. 17 and 18, it said, without giving the number of people surveyed or a margin of error.

Abe’s support compares with 71 percent who said they had positive expectations of then-Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Hatoyama when his party won the general election in 2009.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo at ireynolds1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net


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