TOKYO: Shigeru Ishiba, former secretary-general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, was chosen by the largest proportion of the public as the most suitable person to be prime minister after the current term of Shinzo Abe, a Jiji Press poll for February showed Friday.
Ishiba topped the rankings of possible candidates, with support from 21.6 pct, rising from second place, with 15.8 pct, in October last year, the last time the survey covered the subject.
He swapped places with Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, who dropped to second spot with 15.1 pct, down from 18.8 pct.
Abe remained third, with 10.6 pct, up from 10.3 pct.
Among other post-Abe candidates, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga ranked fourth, with 6.1 pct, followed by LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Fumio Kishida, with 5.2 pct. Defense Minister Taro Kono ranked seventh, with 4.5 pct, and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi came eighth, with 1.5 pct.
Among respondents who support the LDP, Abe topped the list, with 25.3 pct, followed by Ishiba with 20.9 pct, Koizumi with 12.5 pct, Suga with 9.4 pct, Kishida with 7.7 pct, and Kono with 6.7 pct.
Among those who do not support a particular political party, Ishiba came first, with 21.9 pct, followed by Koizumi with 17.0 pct, and Abe with 6.5 pct.
The interview-based survey was conducted between Feb. 6 and Sunday, covering 2,000 people nationwide aged 18 or older. Valid responses were collected from 61.1 pct of them.