Japan’s vaccine minister leads poll for prime minister’s succession

Minister in charge of vaccines Taro Kono is leading the latest public opinion poll on the successor of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Mr. Taro Kono received 27% support in a poll conducted by Nikkei and TV Tokyo about the “right person” to lead the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and become Japan’s next prime minister. The survey was conducted over three days September 9-11 and was published yesterday.

The second highest supporter with 17% is former LDP general secretary Shigeru Ishiba. Third and fourth place went to former Policy Research Council chair Fumio Kishida and former interior minister Sanae Takaichi, with approval ratings of 14% and 7% respectively.

Minister in charge of the vaccine program Taro Kono announced his candidacy in Tokyo on September 10.  Photo: Reuters.

Minister in charge of the vaccine program Taro Kono announced his candidacy in Tokyo on September 10. Photo: Reuters.

Mr. Kono, who is also the Minister of Public Administration Reform, announced his candidacy on September 10, becoming the third person to run for prime minister after Kishida and Takaichi. Meanwhile, Ishiba may not run for office, but favor another candidate, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced on September 3 that he would not run for re-election as chairman of the ruling party and would end his term this month. After a year in power, the public’s approval rating for Mr. Suga has dropped and he has been criticized for his handling of Covid-19. Lawmakers and LDP members will hold a vote on September 29 to choose a leader.

After this vote, Japan is likely to hold a general election in the first half of November, according to Kyodo news agency.

Thanh Tam (Follow Reuters)

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