Fifty-seven per cent of respondents said they did not positively evaluate the economic policies implemented over the past three years, exceeding the 42 per cent who said they did, according to a recent Yomiuri Shimbun nationwide opinion survey on the Abenomics economic policy package of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet.
Asked why they did not favourably evaluate the economic policies, with multiple answers allowed, the largest portion of negative respondents, 60 per cent, said, "Because [their] income did not increase." In a question asking positive respondents why they were favourable, also with multiple answers allowed, the most common answer was, "Because business performance among companies, especially major companies, improved," with 44 per cent saying so.
Thirty-four per cent of pollees said they expected economic recovery in the future, while 65 per cent said they did not. The percentage of respondents who said they did not actually feel economic recovery reached 84 per cent.
The large number of harsh evaluations of Abenomics apparently reflects that corporate performance improvements did not actually extend to households to the degree that benefits were felt, and that volatile stock prices since the new year have caused widespread concern over the future of the Japanese economy.
Seventy-eight per cent said they have cut back on shopping and other expenses over the past few years. The most common reason for the cutbacks, with multiple answers allowed, was "concerns over life in old age, such as pensions, medical care, nursing care and other issues," at 72 per cent.
As for the timing of hiking the consumption tax rate to 10 per cent, 22 per cent said the rate should be hiked in April 2017 as scheduled, while 32 per cent said the rate increase would be necessary but should be delayed, and 40 per cent said the rate should not be increased from the current 8 per cent.
The survey was conducted from mid-January to mid-February. It was sent by mail to 3,000 randomly selected eligible voters using stratified two-stage random sampling in 250 locations across the nation. The questionnaire was sent on Jan. 13 and 2,032 questionnaires were returned by Feb. 16. In total, 1,997 people, or 67 per cent, gave valid answers.