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Poll shows dismal support for Japanese cabinet

MORE than half of Japanese voters want the main opposition Democratic Party to lead the next government, a nationwide poll showed yesterday, as unpopular Prime Minister Taro Aso faces an election later this year.

In another blow to Aso, more than three-quarters of voters said they did not expect his economic policies to help boost the nation's economy, now struggling with what some experts say will be its longest-ever recession, the Kyodo news agency poll showed.

Support for Aso's cabinet has been hovering below 20 percent in recent months after a series of policy flip-flops and gaffes by the prime minister. Kyodo put support for the cabinet at 18.1 percent, down 1.1 points from the previous month.

Asked about what sort of government they would like, 55.3 percent of respondents said they wanted one led by the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, up 3.9 points from the °?previous survey.

Just over a quarter said the government should continue to be led by Aso's ruling Liberal Democratic Party. An election for the lower house of Japan's parliament must be held by October at the latest.

The poll also showed 43.8 percent of respondents said they would prefer Ichiro Ozawa, head of the DPJ, as prime minister, compared with 23.2 percent who backed Aso for the job.

Aso's woes have not been helped by the economy, which probably shrank 3.1 percent in the last three months of 2008, or an annualized 11.7 percent, a Reuters poll showed.


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