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Friday, Sept. 12, 2008

Voters favor Obama for U.S., are fed up with Japan: poll


Staff writer

An overwhelming number of Japanese believe Barack Obama will win the United States presidential election in November and 90 percent are dissatisfied with Japanese politics, according to a survey released Thursday by the nonprofit Nippon Foundation.

The survey was held to explore opinions on the theme of "the U.S. presidential election and Japan."

Of the 11,131 respondents, 48.6 percent placed their bets on the Democratic senator from Illinois, while only 13.3 percent chose his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain of Arizona. But 52.4 percent said they thought Japanese-U.S. relations were poor. No reasons were given.

While the timing of the U.S. election is a long-established event, Japan was thrown into election mode Sept. 1 after Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda suddenly announced his decision to quit.

The results of the survey show that public discontent has erupted, with 9,932 people stating dissatisfaction with Japanese politics.

Their discontent stemmed from the belief that politicians aren't thinking of the public and are instead pursuing personal gain at the expense of national interests. Many respondents brought up the numerous scandals and wasteful government spending.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is set to choose its new leader from among five candidates on Sept. 22, including the first female candidate, Yuriko Koike.

And 36.7 percent of the pollees think there is a chance a female prime minister will emerge.

It also appears that voters are seeking a younger leader — 64.7 percent said they thought the prime minister should be fiftysomething.

The front-runner, Taro Aso, is 67 and the oldest candidate, Kaoru Yosano, is 70.

Fukuda is 72. His predecessor, Shinzo Abe, who also stepped down abruptly last September, was seen as young and inexperienced at 53. So who knows?



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The Japan Times

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