2011/01/16

Japan PM enjoys poll boost after reshuffle - Poll

TOKYO, January 16, 2011 (AFP) - Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan enjoyed a boost in opinion polls published Sunday after reshuffling his cabinet, but voters still did not expect him to be able to push through promised reforms.

Kan added new faces to his cabinet on Friday in a bid to appease opposition parties and help his bid to mend the country's tattered finances and boost free trade to spur growth.

The reshuffled cabinet received a support rating of 34 percent, up from 25 percent in December, in an opinion poll for the Yomiuri Shimbun carried out on Friday and Saturday among 1,736 eligible voters.

Seventy percent of respondents, however, said they doubted the new cabinet would be able to fulfil its policy promises.

A separate survey by Kyodo News said that public support for Kan's cabinet rose to 32 percent from 24 percent a month earlier.

Among the changes in Kan's third cabinet since becoming prime minister were new ministers for fiscal policy, trade, justice and transport while the premier kept other key posts such as foreign, finance and defence portfolios unchanged.

Japan is scheduled to hold its next general elections in 2013.