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Support rate for new Japanese prime minister drops

Support rate for new Japanese prime minister drops

Support for the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fell with respondents criticizing his lack of leadership, a newspaper poll said Monday.
Japan's business daily Nihon Keizai said that the support rate for Abe's Cabinet fell to 51 percent, down eight percentage points from a similar poll taken late November.
The disapproval rate for Abe rose to 40 percent, up 11 percentage points from November.
Among those who do not support Abe's Cabinet, 54 percent of respondents said Abe lacks leadership, up 19 percentage points from the previous poll, while 39 percent said his policies were bad. Respondents were allowed to pick as many answers as they like.
Abe, who took office in late September, enjoyed 71 percent of support at the start in a Nikkei poll, but his popularity continued to decline with voters increasingly disappointed over his handling of domestic issues.
The poll was taken after Abe's ruling party formally reinstated several rebel lawmakers who were expelled last year over their opposition to privatization of the postal system.
The privatization was a key reform item pushed by then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Abe's decision to reinstate them, despite strong public opposition, eroded his popularity.
The Nikkei poll, conducted Friday and Saturday with 947 voters interviewed by phone, also followed the resignation of a top tax official who was hand-picked by Abe.
The official resigned Thursday after he was caught living with his mistress at a government apartment.