Abe cabinet approval rate hits record low

Abe cabinet approval rate hits record low
People shout slogans as they hold placards during a rally to protest against controversial security bills. The security bills, which Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his supporters say are necessary for Japan to deal with the world around it, are deeply unpopular in the country at large.
PHOTO: AFP

The approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's second Cabinet stands at 43 per cent, the lowest level since its inauguration, according to the latest Yomiuri Shimbun poll.

The disapproval rating was 49 per cent, eclipsing the approval rating for the first time since the Cabinet was launched in December 2012.

Compared to a similar poll carried out from July 3 to 5, the results marked a six percentage-point fall in the approval rate and a nine-percentage point rise in the disapproval rate.

The survey was conducted from Friday to Sunday, prior to the start of debate in the House of Councillors on security-related bills that were passed in the House of Representatives.

Sixty-one per cent said it was "inappropriate" for the ruling parties to put the legislation to a vote in the lower house due to the abstention of many opposition party members.

The decline in Cabinet support appears to stem from critical views of the ruling camp's approach to running the Diet.

Regarding Abe's decision to scrap the new National Stadium design plan and start over from scratch, 83 per cent said they "support" the move.

But among such respondents, 46 per cent indicated their approval of the Cabinet and 47 per cent expressed disapproval, suggesting that the decision did little to avert the fall in support.

Seventy-nine per cent said the government's handling of the issue prior to the plan's withdrawal was "inappropriate."

Meanwhile, 64 per cent said they opposed the passage of the security bills during the current Diet session - up from 63 per cent in the previous survey - while 26 per cent supported it, a rise from 25 per cent in the previous poll.

Only 12 per cent felt the government and ruling parties had "fully explained" the content of the legislation, compared to 82 per cent who said they failed to do so. In the previous survey, 13 per cent said they had heard a thorough explanation, while 80 per cent said they had not.

In comparison, 23 per cent approved of how opposition parties handled the deliberations, while 65 per cent did not.

The latest survey also addressed a statement to be issued by the prime minister this summer to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Fifty-five per cent said he "should include" phrases expressing remorse or apology over Japan's colonial rule and past acts of aggression, while 30 per cent said they thought otherwise.

By political party, 36 per cent supported the Liberal Democratic Party, up from 35 per cent in the previous poll.

This was followed by 8 per cent supporting the Democratic Party of Japan, down from 9 per cent; 5 per cent supporting the Japanese Communist Party, up from 3 per cent; and 3 per cent supporting Komeito, down from 4 per cent.

The survey covered 1,781 households with eligible voters using random-digit dialing. Of this number, 1,059 people, or 59 per cent, gave valid answers.

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