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Japan P.M.’s ratings at record low 15 percent

TOKYO (AFP) ― Support for the cabinet of Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan has plunged to 15 percent, the lowest level since his center-left party took power in 2009, a newspaper poll said Tuesday.

Seventy percent of voters want Kan ― under pressure over his handling of the March 11 quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster ― to resign before parliament enters a recess late next month, said the Asahi Shimbun survey.

Kan, who took office a little over a year ago as Japan’s fifth premier in as many years, has come under intense pressure from the conservative opposition and some members of his own Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to step down.

In a tense political standoff, he has signaled he will bow out only after key bills on disaster reconstruction and promoting renewable energy are passed, while the opposition has threatened to block the bills until Kan goes.

The weekend poll found that 31 percent of respondents want Kan to step down now and another 39 percent want him to go by the end of August when the current parliament session ends, the liberal paper reported.

Support for Kan’s cabinet tumbled to 15 percent from 22 percent in a June survey. The new reading is a record low since the DPJ swept to power in 2009, ending a half-century of almost straight conservative rule.
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