Poll: 53% approve Abe's sales tax hike

Fifty-three per cent of respondents to a Yomiuri Shimbun poll approved of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's decision to raise the consumption tax rate to 8 per cent in April, while 41 per cent disapproved.

In a nationwide opinion poll carried out from Friday to Sunday by phone, 22 per cent said they believe that economic measures relating to the tax hike, including corporate tax cuts, would help realise wage increases, while 67 per cent said they did not think so, suggesting many people are sceptical about the impact the measures will have.

In a poll in August last year, shortly after bills for the integrated reform of the social security and tax systems passed the Diet under the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, 49 per cent of the respondents disapproved of the passage of the bills for the consumption tax hike, while 43 per cent approved of it.

Sixty-six per cent of respondents did not support the early abolition of the special corporate tax rate for reconstruction efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake. This figure was much higher than the 24 per cent of those who supported it. Abe may decide to scrap the special tax at the end of March, a year earlier than scheduled.

Seventy-nine per cent said that they had not personally experienced economic recovery under the Abe administration, up from 77 per cent in the previous poll carried out from Sept. 13 to 15.

Seventy per cent of the respondents believed that an increase in the tax rate for daily necessities should be kept to a lower level than the consumption tax rate hike, down by four percentage points from the previous poll.

Fifty-eight per cent of respondents approved of the Abe administration's economic measures, down by one percentage point from the previous poll, and 30 per cent disapproved, up by three percentage points.

Figures showed 78 per cent of respondents believed the government should provide financial aid for decommissioning and decontamination work at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant.

The approval rating for the Abe Cabinet was 67 per cent, the same figure as the previous poll, while the disapproval rating was 24 per cent, up from 21 per cent.

Among the 1,100 respondents, 43 per cent supported the Liberal Democratic Party, followed by 5 per cent for the Democratic Party of Japan and 3 per cent for New Komeito. Forty-one per cent said they did not support any particular party.

The respondents were eligible voters from 1,761 households, whose phone numbers were randomly selected by computer. Of those, 62 per cent provided valid answers.