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Japan ruling party can expect election rout: poll

TOKYO -- Japan's ruling party looks set to suffer a rout in an election expected in a few months, lagging behind two opposition parties, with voter support for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's cabinet at its lowest since he took office last year, a media poll showed.

The Nikkei business daily's poll showed 11 percent of those polled plan to vote for Noda's Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), against 27 percent for the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and 13 percent for the new Japan Restoration Party.

The survey followed the resignation of the justice minister last week amid criticism over his past ties to an organized crime syndicate, dealing another blow to Noda.

Voter support for Noda's government tumbled to 20 percent, the Nikkei poll showed, down 13 percentage points from last month's survey and the lowest since he took office in Sept. 2011.

The Democrats swept to power in 2009, pledging to change how Japan was governed after more than half a century of almost unbroken rule by the LDP.

Three years and three prime ministers later, critics say the DPJ has largely failed to deliver on pledges to cut bureaucracy.

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