TOKYO: Voter support for Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's government hit a record low as the main opposition piles pressure on the unpopular premier to call an early election, a poll by the Asahi newspaper showed on Monday.
Support for Noda's government fell to 22 percent, down three percentage points from the previous poll taken in July, a record low since he took power last September, the poll showed.
Noda stakes his career on a plan to double the sales tax to 10 percent by 2015 to curb huge public debt and fund bulging social security costs. Sales tax hike bills passed the lower house in June with the help of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its one-time coalition partner.
But the LDP is now threatening to submit a non-binding censure motion against Noda in the opposition-controlled upper chamber, which could halt deliberations, or present a no-confidence motion in order to force the premier's hand.
Underscoring mounting public opposition to nuclear energy after last year's Fukushima disaster, the poll showed 79 percent not trusting in government safety measures for atomic power, while 43 percent call for abolishment of nuclear energy by 2030.
Support for Noda, Japan's sixth premier in five years, has been sliding since he took office in September 2011 with support ratings of around 60 percent.