Opinion polls show former Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba is the most popular choice among the public to be Japan’s next prime minister, as four hopefuls jockey to succeed Shinzo Abe in a party leadership election expected to take place in mid-September. Al Jazeera reports that Ishiba has about 34 percent of the public’s support, more than double the 14 percent for Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the second-most popular choice but the surveys highlight a split between public opinion and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party where factional support is crucial, and analysts say Ishiba has maintained few friends.