Support for Cabinet Unchanged at 39%

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida directs the ruling parties to consider increasing taxes at the Prime Minister’s Office in December.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s recent overseas tour did not boost his support back home, as a recent Yomiuri Shimbun poll found the approval rating for his Cabinet to be unchanged from the previous survey conducted late last year.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The approval rating for the Kishida Cabinet was 39% in a national survey conducted by the Yomiuri on Friday through Sunday, the same level as in the poll conducted on Dec. 2-4. The disapproval rating was 47%, down from 52% in the last survey.

Although the survey was conducted amid heightened focus on Kishida’s performance as he held a series of summit meetings in Europe and the United States, support for his Cabinet did not rise.

A total of 59% of respondents did not think Kishida would display leadership abilities at the Group of Seven summit to be held in Hiroshima in May, well over the 29% who thought he would. The prime minister’s recent foreign visits were partly aimed at laying the groundwork for the upcoming G7 summit.

Asked when the House of Representatives election should be held, the largest proportion of respondents, 33%, answered “within this year.” Combined with the 18% who said “as soon as possible,” a majority of 51% wanted the election to be held this year.

Regarding the Kishida Cabinet’s plan to increase defense spending to more than ¥40 trillion over the next five years, 49% were against it while 43% supported it, a nearly even split.

Kishida’s policy to expand measures to tackle Japan’s declining birthrate was rated positively by 58% of respondents, 24 percentage points more than those who did not rate it positively.

Asked whether they support the plan to discharge treated water into the ocean from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., 46% supported the action while 43% opposed it.

Regarding which party they back, 36% named the Liberal Democratic Party, up three points from the previous survey, and an unchanged 6% chose the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. Those who supported no particular party accounted for 41%, down from 42%.

Increased burden rejected

Even among respondents who supported the Kishida Cabinet’s plans to strengthen defense capabilities and expand measures to combat the declining birthrate, the national survey found strong opposition to increasing the burden on the public through such measures as tax hikes.

A total of 63% opposed the government’s plan to raise taxes, such as income tax, to finance increased defense spending, far ahead of the 28% who said they supported it.

Even among backers of the ruling parties, 49% were against such moves, more than the 43% who expressed support. Moreover, among the 43% of all respondents who supported higher defense spending, 40% did not want taxes raised for that purpose.

In a survey conducted last November, 68% of respondents supported strengthening defense capabilities.

As for measures for tackle the declining birthrate, 56% of respondents opposed putting a burden on the general public through such measures as tax hikes in order to fund the measures, while 38% were in favor.

Even among the 58% of all respondents who thought positively of Kishida’s policy to expand such measures, people were almost evenly split about increasing the burden — 49% of them were in favor, and 44% were against it.

Thorough explanations by Kishida about increasing the burden appear to be essential to gaining understanding among the public.

The prime minister has asked the business community to raise wages, and 37% of respondents thought that wages would rise compared to 57% who did not think they would.

A total of 45% of LDP supporters rejected the Democratic Party for the People joining the coalition government, while 31% were in favor. Among supporters of the ruling party, 45% opposed this move.

The latest poll was conducted by calling 723 landlines and 1,517 mobile phones through random digit dialing. All respondents had to be eligible voters. A total of 1,072 respondents gave valid answers, comprising 440 people on landlines and 632 on mobile phones.