Approval Rating for Japan Cabinet Plunges to 41%

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is seen before a Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo on June 20.

There has been a sharp fall in the approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, according to a recent Yomiuri Shimbun nationwide survey. The poll, conducted Friday to Sunday, showed a drop of 15 percentage points, sinking from 56% in the previous survey to 41%, lower than the disapproval rating of 44%, which rose from 33% in the prior poll held May 20-21.

Support for the Cabinet had climbed in the previous canvass, conducted while the Group of Seven summit was underway in Hiroshima.

It is likely that government missteps related to My Number identification cards had a bearing on the approval rating plunge.

It was the first time in seven months for the Cabinet’s approval rating to fall, while marking the largest percentage point drop since the Cabinet’s formation. The 15-point dip also marks the second-largest decline in recent years, following a survey conducted on Dec. 26-27, 2020, when the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga suffered a 16-percentage-point decline amid public frustration over the government’s COVID-19 measures.

The latest numbers also mark the first time in three months for the Cabinet’s approval rating figure to fall below that of the disapproval rating.

The most recent survey polled eligible voters age 18 or older by calling 761 households and 1,592 mobile phone users, using random digit dialing. A total of 1,018 respondents provided valid answers.

Regarding the My Number card issue, only 24% of respondents thought the government had handled related problems appropriately, while 67% held the opposite view. When asked about the government’s plan to abolish the current health insurance cards and integrate their functionality into My Number cards in the autumn 2024, 55% of respondents opposed the idea, more than the 37% of people who supported the initiative.

Thirty-seven percent of the pollees held a favorable view of measures to combat the low birth rate, while 55% did not.

The government plans to secure an additional annual budget in the mid-¥3 trillion range, but 61% of respondents took a dim view of the associated increased burden on public funds, far more than the 31% who favored the move.

As for Kishida’s decision not to dissolve the House of Representatives during the ordinary Diet session that ended Wednesday, 40% of respondents were in accord with the step, while 34% were not.

In the survey, 30% of respondents thought the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito should continue to lead a coalition government, while 56% thought differently.

When asked which of the two opposition parties — the largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the second-largest Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) — should lead the opposition bloc against the LDP, 40% of respondents plumped for Ishin, while 26% chose the CDPJ.

By party, approval rates stood at 34% for the LDP, down from 38% in the previous survey, and 3% for Komeito, up from 2%. Many opposition parties saw their support ratings decline, with figures of 6% for Ishin, down from 7%; 4% for the CDPJ, down from 5%; and 1% for the Japanese Communist Party, down from 3%. The Democratic Party for the People’s approval rating rose slightly to 2% from 1%, while Reiwa Shinsengumi and Sanseito saw figures of 2% and 1%, respectively, both unchanged from the previous survey. Forty percent of respondents said they had no party affiliation, rising from 37% in the previous survey.

The Yomiuri Shimbun