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Japanese leader reaps higher approval rating following summit trip to U.S.

Japanese leader reaps higher approval rating following summit trip to U.S.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's approval ratings have edged higher after his first summit trip to the United States and friendly talks with President George W. Bush, according to two newspaper polls Monday.
A survey published by the national Mainichi newspaper showed support for Abe's Cabinet climbing to 43 percent over the weekend, up from 35 percent in the previous survey in March.
The poll showed disapproval with Abe's government slipping 9 percentage points to 33 percent, marking the first major upturn since the prime minister took office in late September, the Mainichi said.
The poll was taken Saturday and Sunday, shortly after Abe's two-day visit to the U.S. for his first summit trip to Washington last week, during which the two leaders showed the world signs of a developing friendship between "Shinzo" and "George."
Also Monday, the Nikkei business newspaper published a poll showing support for Abe's government rising to 53 percent, up 10 percentage points from a March survey, with the approval rating surpassing the disapproval for the first time in two months.
The disapproval rating dipped 8 points to 37 percent from the last month, the Nikkei said. The polls also cited his government's recent push for educational and other reforms as part of a growing support.
Support for Abe, near 70 percent when he took office in September, had been declining since then following a series of scandals, missteps and gaffes by his nationalist-leaning government.
Mainichi conducted telephone interviews with 1,085 eligible voters and Nikkei interviewed 865 voters on the phone April 27-29. Either surveys gave no margin of error.