Tokyo Notes

PM Support at New Low

Opposition weakness is the only bright spot right now for an embattled Yukio Hatoyama.

The latest media opinion poll here shows Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s approval rating at a hazardously low 20.7 percent.

The Kyodo News poll conducted this week cited the prime minister’s lack of leadership as the most common reason for dissatisfaction. In the poll, 84 percent also said they thought Democratic Party of Japan kingpin Ichiro Ozawa should resign over a money scandal linked to him.

With support for the DPJ nose-diving, implied calls for change at the top of the party are coming not only from within the party but also the Cabinet, as reported by the Mainichi Shimbun daily.

However, support for the main opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party, still remains 6 percent behind the DPJ in the Kyodo poll, providing a lifeline to DPJ top brass. And, as expected, none of the three new parties launched in April were welcomed with a bang, all of them garnering less support than the Japanese Communist Party.

The weakness of the opposition is providing Hatoyama and Co. with unprecedented breathing space in face of such unpopularity, but the end of May deadline for resolving the Futenma air base relocation issue is surely going to be the key moment for determining the administration’s future.