48% approve statement by Abe on WWII anniversary

PHOTO: Reuters

Forty-eight per cent of respondents said they gave a favourable response to the statement issued by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, while 34 per cent said they did not, a recent Yomiuri Shimbun survey showed.

According to the survey, which was conducted Saturday and Sunday, 72 per cent of respondents said they highly evaluate the fact that Abe said he will inherit the position of previous cabinets, which expressed "deep remorse and heartfelt apology" for Japan's wartime actions, while 20 per cent said they do not.

Abe said in the statement, "We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologise." The survey found that 27 per cent think it is better that Japan continues to apologise in the future while 63 per cent do not.

Nineteen per cent said the statement will have an adverse impact on Japan's relations with China and South Korea while 14 per cent said it will have a positive impact. Fifty per cent anticipated no impact.

Meanwhile, the approval rating for the Abe Cabinet stood at 45 per cent, almost unchanged from 43 per cent in the previous survey conducted from July 24 to 26. The disapproval rating fell by 4 percentage points from 49 per cent to 45 per cent.

In the July survey, the disapproval rating surpassed the approval rating for the first time since the second Abe Cabinet was launched in December 2012. In the latest survey, however, the disapproval rating matched the approval rating, indicating a halt in the decline in the approval rating.

Meanwhile, 31 per cent of respondents in the latest survey said they support security-related legislation, which is currently under deliberation in the House of Councillors, while 55 per cent said they oppose it.

In response to a separate question, 26 per cent said they support the enactment of the legislation during the current Diet session while 64 per cent oppose it - results unchanged from the July survey.

The survey also found that 79 per cent do not think the government and the ruling parties are fully explaining the legislation to the public. Eighty-two per cent said so in the previous survey.

The public understanding of the legislation apparently is not spreading, meaning the government needs to give a thorough explanation on the matter.

For the survey, telephone numbers were randomly selected and interviews conducted over the phone. Of 1,761 households with eligible voters, 1,051 voters responded. The response rate was 60 per cent.