Support for Japan PM plunges over handling of East China Sea boat collision: polls

14:51, October 04, 2010      

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Public support for Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan's Cabinet dropped sharply due to disapproval over the government's handling of the collision last month between a Chinese fishing trawler and two Japanese patrol boats, two notable dailies reported Monday.

Public support for Kan's government fell to 53 percent, down 13 points from the previous month, a poll by the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper revealed.

In the poll of 1,104 voters, conducted from Friday to Sunday, 72 percent said it was not appropriate that Japan had released the Chinese captain without making a decision as to whether to indict him or not.

More than 40 percent of those surveyed said that it gave the impression that Tokyo easily caves in to pressure and is malleable in the face of adversity.

In a separate survey, the Mainichi Shimbun reported that its poll, taken between Saturday and Sunday, showed Kan's approval rating slumped to 49 percent, down 15 points from its previous survey.

The Mainichi reported that 87 percent of respondents said they could not accept the government's explanation that the captain was released based on the decision of prosecutors and 80 percent of the 966 people questioned said the Japanese government should have made a clear political judgement over the issue.

The government maintained that there was no political intervention in the local prosecutors' decision to release the Chinese captain of the trawler.

On Sept. 24 Japanese prosecutors said they decided to release fishing captain Zhan Qixiong because he had no criminal record and didn't intend to deliberately ram Japanese patrol boats with his trawler on Sept. 7.

Japan had accused Zhan of deliberately ramming the trawler into the two vessels near disputed islands in the East China Sea and arrested him Sept. 8. China called his detention "illegal and invalid."

Source: Xinhua


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