Sunday, January 27, 2013

Support for Japan's Abe government rises to two-thirds: poll

TOKYO (Reuters) - Support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government rose by 4.7 percentage points to two-thirds of voters in the month since his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) returned to power, a poll by the Kyodo news agency showed on Sunday.

The poll, conducted on Saturday and Sunday, showed that support for the government rose to 66.7 percent, an apparent sign of approval for his efforts to boost the economy with a mix of easy monetary policy and fiscal spending.

The rise came after the Bank of Japan announced on Tuesday its most determined effort yet to end years of economic stagnation, saying it would switch to an open-ended commitment to buying assets next year and double its inflation target to 2 percent under pressure from Abe.

Ahead of an election to the upper house in summer, 37.2 percent of respondents said they would vote for the LDP, followed by 12.1 percent for the nationalist Japan Restoration Party (JRP) led by a former Tokyo governor. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), ousted in last month's lower house election, stood at 8.8 percent.

The poll showed 62.0 percent supporting the Bank of Japan's 2 percent inflation target and 63.3 percent backing the government's handling of the Algeria hostage crisis, in which 10 Japanese nationals were killed.

Abe has made clear he hopes to become Japan's first long-term leader since Junichiro Koizumi's rare 2001-2006 term. The country was led by five different prime ministers in the five years up to the defeat last month of the DPJ's Yoshihiko Noda.

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori and Linda Sieg; Editing by Ron Popeski)


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