Kishida’s Cabinet hits its lowest approval rating of 36%, Yomiuri poll shows

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo
The Yomiuri Shimbun

The approval rating for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet has fallen to 36%, the lowest since its formation, according to a nationwide opinion poll conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun over the weekend.

The disapproval rating was at 50%, the highest for Kishida’s Cabinet, climbing from 46% in the previous poll conducted Oct. 1-2. The disapproval rating surpassed the approval rating for the second consecutive poll.

This time’s poll, conducted from Friday through Sunday, showed the approval rating dropping into the 30% range for the first time, down 9 percentage points from 45% in the October poll. This marked the largest drop since Kishida became prime minister on Oct. 4, 2021.

Topping the list of reasons for the disapproval was the 33% of respondents who said they “can’t expect anything from the policies.” This was followed by “the prime minister has no leadership ability” at 24%, up 4 percentage points from the previous poll.

Respondents were eligible voters ages 18 and over. Disapproval among women was higher than approval for the first time. By age group, respondents 18-39 showed a considerable decline in support for Kishida.

Regarding the massive ¥29 trillion comprehensive economic measures designed to mitigate the impact of rising prices, 62% of respondents said they view them favorably, while 32% said they do not. The measures, which are to be financed through the issuance of government bonds and other means, are focused on easing the burden of rising electricity and gas rates on households, thus spreading the effects widely among the public. But they have apparently failed to gain enough appreciation to sway support for the administration.

In response to a question about whether Kishida is taking appropriate measures to deter North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and missiles, only 19% of respondents thought he was doing so, as opposed to 68% who didn’t think so.

As for legislation designed to provide relief to people victimized by the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, widely known as the Unification Church, 73% of respondents said the bills should be passed into law during the current Diet session, far surpassing the 18% who didn’t think so. This is seen as an indication of voters’ discontent with the government and ruling coalition, both of which have been criticized for their slow response to the situation.

The poll showed voters were split on the government’s policy to abolish, in principle, the current health insurance card system and have it integrated into the Individual Number Card system in autumn 2024. While 44% of respondents approve of it, 49% said they did not.

When asked which party they supported, 33% of respondents said the Liberal Democratic Party, down from 40% in the previous poll and the lowest since the Kishida Cabinet was formed, and 6% said they support the largest opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, up from 5% previously. Also, 43% of respondents said they did not support a particular party, the highest since the Kishida Cabinet was formed and up from 37% in the previous poll.