Japanese voters expressed high hopes for new Prime Minister Naoto Kan, boosting support for the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) by 15.6 percentage points, a survey conducted by Kyodo News said.

Some 57.6 per cent said they had positive expectations for Kan, a former deputy prime minister and finance minister who was named prime minister Friday to succeed unpopular leader Yukio Hatoyama. However, 37.2 per cent said they did not have any hopes for the new premier, according to the survey released over the weekend. The support rate for the DPJ soared 15.6 percentage points from 20.5 per cent to 36.1 per cent from a previous survey conducted just before Hatoyama announced his resignation as premier on Wednesday .

Support for the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which used to rule Japan for almost 50 years, was 20.8 per cent. Asked which party they would vote for in the upcoming upper house election expected in late July, 32.6 per cent said they would give their vote to the DPJ, up 12.7 percentage points from the previous poll, while 23.4 per cent said they would cast their ballot for the LDP, up 2.5 points.

The poll also showed 43.2 per cent said Kan should put priority on the economy and employment measures and 35.3 per cent said his priority should be placed on administrative and fiscal reforms. The poll was conducted on Friday and Saturday by Kyodo News, by calling randomly selected eligible voters in 1,452 households, of which 1,026 voters gave valid responses. dpa tk im 070357 GMT Jun 10

More In: International | News