Survey: 89% support government response to omicron variant

Nearly 90% of respondents positively evaluated the government’s border control measures against the influx of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, a survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun found.

In the survey, conducted from Friday to Sunday, 89% of respondents supported the government’s response, while 8% did not.

The approval rating of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet was 62%, up six percentage points from the previous survey conducted on Nov. 1-2. The disapproval rating of the Cabinet fell to 22% from 29% in the previous survey.

The government suspended all new entries of foreign nationals at the end of November as the omicron variant was spreading in many countries.

Although the government caused confusion when the transport ministry asked airlines to stop accepting new reservations for all inbound flights until the end of December — a request that was revoked just three days later — respondents favorably evaluated the speed at which the move was taken.

A total of 55% of respondents approved of the government’s overall response to the coronavirus, while 36% did not.

Regarding the government’s largest-ever ¥55.7 trillion fiscal spending package for balancing the prevention of infections and stimulating the economy, 53% evaluated it positively.

On the other hand, respondents had a negative view of the government’s decision to provide ¥100,000 to residents aged 18 and under, with 55% not agreeing with the move, while 39% approved. For respondents aged 18 to 39, 55% evaluated the planned benefit positively, while 42% did not.

Regarding the government’s vaccination and infection test “packaging” policy, 55% evaluated it positively and 37% did not. Under the policy, an unlimited number of people in groups can go to eateries and events even if a state of emergency is in effect on condition that they have been vaccinated or have proof of negative virus test results, and those conditions are confirmed.

Opinions were split almost evenly over respondents’ attitudes toward taking trips to tourist destinations or returning to one’s hometown during the year-end and New Year holidays.

Forty-nine percent said people should refrain from taking such trips because of the risk of infection spreading, while 48% responded that such journeys are acceptable if measures to mitigate infections are thoroughly implemented.