Two-thirds of Japan public support new PM Suga, polls show | Reuters

New Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government was backed by at least two-thirds of respondents in domestic polls taken in the early days of his administration.

The Kyodo news agency said on Thursday its telephone poll showed 66.4% of the public supported Suga’s cabinet.

A separate survey by the Nikkei newspaper and TV Tokyo showed 74% support, the third-highest for an incoming Cabinet in the poll’s history, with positive replies noting Suga’s “trustworthy” personality.

Suga became Japan’s first new prime minister in nearly eight years on Wednesday, pledging to contain COVID-19 and push reforms after retaining about half of predecessor Shinzo Abe’s cabinet.

Asked when the lower house of parliament ought to be dissolved for an election, 55.1% of those surveyed said the election should be held shortly ahead of or at the end of its current term, which runs until October 2021.

There has been speculation that Suga could take advantage of strong support, indicated by media polls even before officially taking office, to call a snap election soon to solidify his grip on power.

On Wednesday, however, Suga said that what Japanese most wanted was to contain the coronavirus outbreak and revive the battered economy.

“This is the first thing I want to work on with my new cabinet,” he told reporters. Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Alex Richardson and Gerry Doyle

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