Tokyo: Taro Kono tops polls as next premier

According to a Kyodo News survey, the Minister of Administrative Reform is given as the favorite by 32% of voters. Liberal Democratic Party elections to decide Premier Yoshihide Suga's successor will be held on September 29. Nearly 70% of the population approved the holding of the Paralympics. 

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Minister of Administrative Reform and head of the Covid-19 vaccine campaign Taro Kono is seen as the favorite to succeed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who announced his resignation on Sept. 3. AKyodo News poll puts Kono at 31.9% of voters preference, ahead of former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba with 26.6% and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida with 18.8%.

Kishida and former Home Affairs Minister Sanae Takaichi have indicated that they will join the race; the other possible candidates have yet to announce their decisions. Liberal Democratic Party elections to determine who will succeed Suga will be held on September 29. 

Regarding his decision not to run for the party leadership again, 56.7% of Japanese do not consider his resignation an unexpected choice, given his government's handling of the pandemic response, which meets with the disapproval of 56.3% of voters. 

An overwhelming majority (69.7%) supported the holding of the Paralympics in Tokyo, which ended yesterday, despite the fact that the capital had to maintain a state of emergency against Covid-19. A slightly smaller percentage (67.1%) said the sporting event had a positive impact and could promote social unity. 

Previous Kyodo News polls had shown strong public opposition to the Olympic Games. Thanks to the restrictions imposed by the government, in the last two weeks the number of infections has begun to fall: yesterday the country recorded 12,907 new cases and 30 deaths. 

In the latest survey, the Suga government's popularity fell to a new all-time low of 30.1%, down 1.7 points from the previous survey in mid-August. In contrast, the disapproval rate rose to 58.5%.