Japan Vaccine Czar Kono Is Favorite to Succeed Suga, Nikkei Poll Shows
(Bloomberg) -- Japan’s vaccination minister Taro Kono is the favorite to replace Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, according to a poll conducted by Nikkei and TV Tokyo.
In total, 27% of survey respondents opted for Kono as “the right person” to become the party’s president, from a choice of 10 LDP politicians.
Former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba ranked second with 17%, and ex-Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida came third with 14%, according to the poll. Former Internal Affairs Minister Sanae Takaichi, who is seeking to become the country’s first female premier, took fifth place with 7%.
Suga announced on Sept. 3 that he would not seek another term as the party’s leader after about a year on the job. His support rate has plummeted amid mounting criticism over his pandemic management. Whoever takes over as leader is virtually assured of becoming prime minister due to the LDP’s dominance in parliament.
Kono declared his candidacy for the leadership on Friday, the third lawmaker to officially join the race alongside Kishida and Takaichi.
The Nikkei poll also gave the current cabinet an approval rating of 36%, almost unchanged from the previous month’s 34%, and lower than the disapproval rating of 56%. The survey comprised of responses from 984 randomly contacted men and women over the age of 18.
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