The approval rating for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet rose to 39.8 percent following a reshuffle of ministers and the ruling party’s leadership, up 6.2 percentage points from late August, a Kyodo News survey showed Thursday.
According to the two-day nationwide telephone survey conducted from Wednesday, 37.6 percent of respondents said they viewed Kishida’s revamp of his team positively, against 43.9 percent who thought otherwise.
The Cabinet’s disapproval rating stood at 39.7 percent, down from 50.0 percent in the previous poll in late August.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (C) and members of his reshuffled Cabinet attend its first meeting at the premier’s office in Tokyo on Sept. 13, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
After struggling with sluggish support rates in recent months, Kishida appointed a record-tying five women as ministers and picked 11 new faces for his Cabinet. The revamp brought in Japan’s first female foreign minister in about two decades and a new defense minister.
The changes were widely seen as an effort by Kishida to boost his popularity and standing within the party as he keeps an eye on the possibility of a snap general election and on his Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election in September next year.
Although picking Yuko Obuchi, the 49-year-old daughter of late Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, as the LDP’s election campaign chief was apparently one of the key features of the shakeup, 58.8 of respondents called the appointment “inappropriate.”
Obuchi has been largely out of the political limelight since a scandal over misuse of political funds forced her to step down as industry minister only a month after she took the post in 2014.
As for issues the public feels Kishida should prioritize the most, economic measures, including steps to address rising prices, were cited by 53.5 percent, with child-rearing and the declining birthrate following at 18.8 percent, according to the poll.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and members of his reshuffled Cabinet attend a photo session at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo on Sept. 13, 2023. (Kyodo)
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