In the January Jiji Press opinion poll [conducted on Jan. 12–15, 2018], some 24.1% of pollees said that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Liberal Democratic Party [LDP] president) is the most appropriate person to serve as Japan’s next prime minister. LDP Chief Deputy Secretary-General Shinjiro Koizumi was the second most frequently selected at 20.2%, while former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba was the third at 15.6%. Some 50% of LDP supporters said Abe is most appropriate as the next PM. The poll shows that Abe is in a dominant position as the party heads towards its presidential election with the end of Abe’s term as party leader this September.
It is forecast that the LDP presidential election will see Ishiba and others challenge Abe, who will seek a third term. In the August 2017 survey, the last poll where pollees were asked for their views on the next PM, Ishiba was the most frequently selected person, but he fell to third place in the most recent poll. LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Fumio Kishida, who is eyeing a smooth transfer of power and has not indicated whether he will run for the party presidency, was fifth at 3.8%, while Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Seiko Noda, who has publicly announced her candidacy, was sixth at 2.4%. Foreign Minister Taro Kono was seventh at 2.3%.