Tokyo, March 15 (Jiji Press) — A Jiji Press opinion poll showed Friday that 9.0 pct of respondents supported the idea of raising the tenure limit of the Liberal Democratic Party’s leader to four straight three-year terms from the current three consecutive three-year terms.
The survey came after some in the ruling party, including Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, suggested a possibility that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, now in his third consecutive straight term as LDP president, could serve a fourth term.
The existing term limit drew the largest share of support, from 63.5 pct of respondents, while 15.2 pct said the term limit should be abolished.
The interview-based survey was conducted for four days through Monday with 2,000 people aged 18 or older across Japan, with 61.2 pct providing valid responses.
Even among those who support the LDP, three terms of three years was the most popular choice, for 61.9 pct, followed by four three-year terms, for 16.0 pct.
Abolishing the term limit was selected by 15.1 pct.
Asked for the most suitable future prime minister, 24.4 pct of respondents picked Shinjiro Koizumi, director of the party’s Heath, Labor and Welfare Division and the popular son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
Former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba came second, at 18.9 pct, followed by Abe, at 14.2 pct, and LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Fumio Kishida, at 5.1 pct.
Among respondents not affiliated with any political party, Koizumi was the favorite choice, by 27.2 pct, followed by Ishiba, by 18.6 pct, and Abe, by 10.2 pct.
By contrast, Abe was most favored to be the future prime minister by respondents who support the LDP, with backing from 26.6 pct, followed by Ishiba, from 23.4 pct, and Koizumi, from 19.6 pct.