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LDP’s Ishiba favored as next Japan PM, but ‘none of the above’ top pick, Mainichi poll

  • January 20, 2020
  • , The Mainichi
  • English Press

TOKYO — Shigeru Ishiba, the former secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has been voted the politician most suitable to serve as the next prime minister in a nationwide poll held by the Mainichi Shimbun on Jan. 18 and 19.


Ishiba took the top spot with 19%, leading incumbent Shinzo Abe into second place at 13%. Though pegged as a likely post-Abe candidate and seen as a powerful figure in the party, Fumio Kishida, the chair of the LDP Policy Research Council who is dogged by claims he is an ineffective communicator, managed just 3%.


Shinjiro Koizumi, the son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and who is currently serving as the minister of the environment, was chosen by 6% of people surveyed. The clear winner though was “none of the above,” which was picked by 24%.


A previous survey on the issue by the Mainichi Shimbun in July 2018, two months ahead of an LDP leadership contest held in September 2018, asked who would be appropriate as the next leader of the ruling party. At that time, Abe, Ishiba and Koizumi received 22%, 19% and 19% of the vote, respectively. Kishida managed just 2%.


The polls cannot be directly compared due to the content of the questions and the available number of answers being different. But changes in each politician’s percentages appear to have been affected by factors including recent continued criticism of the negative aspects of the Abe administration’s prolonged period in power, and Koizumi’s restraint from using sound bites in his political addresses since joining the Cabinet in September 2019.


Among those who said they support the Abe Cabinet, 27% selected Abe as the most appropriate choice for the next prime minister. The second highest number picked Shigeru Ishiba, at 16%, followed by Minister of Defense Taro Kono at 10%, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at 7%, and Kishida and Koizumi at 4%.


Conversely, Prime Minister Abe was not chosen by any respondents who said they did not support the current Cabinet. Among those, Ishiba claimed the top spot with 25%, with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) leader Yukio Edano next at 7%.


Among respondents who identified themselves as CDP supporters, some 30% chose Ishiba, while under 20% selected Edano. But over 20% said they did not think any of the options provided were suitable.


The current term of office for incumbent members of the House of Representatives will expire in October 2021, and Abe’s role as the president of the LDP is set to end by September 2021. The post of LDP leader carries with it premiership because the party has a majority in the powerful lower house.



Chair of the LDP Policy Research Council Fumio Kishida, who netted just 3% approval in a poll conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun to find out who people feel is the most suitable politician to become the next prime minister of Japan, is seen in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on Dec. 20, 2019. (Mainichi/Naoaki Hasegawa)

The date for the lower chamber election is as yet undecided, and no official announcements have been made declaring candidacies for the LDP presidency, but for the survey 10 potential aspirants were chosen based on their name recognition and other factors.


Abe is currently serving his third consecutive term as president of the LDP. Under the party’s current rules, no politician can serve more than three continuous terms as leader. But with debate simmering in the party as to whether to permit a fourth term, Abe was included as a choice on the survey.


Results of survey to find who would be most suitable as the next prime minister of Japan:


Shigeru Ishiba


Shinzo Abe


Shinjiro Koizumi


Taro Kono


Yoshihide Suga


Yukio Edano


Fumio Kishida


Seiko Noda


Toshimitsu Motegi


Katsunobu Kato


None of the above



(Japanese original by Kei Sato, Political News Department)

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