43% of Young Respondents Frown on Japan Govt Key Measures

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister’s Office

The record-low approval rating for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet seen in a recent Yomiuri Shimbun nationwide poll was likely down to the government’s handling of My Number mishaps, as well as unfavorable perceptions of key measures for combating the nation’s low birth rate, rising prices and other challenges.

Among the reasons cited for disapproval of the Cabinet, 43% of respondents said they held no expectations for the measures — more than double the figure of 20% logged in a survey conducted in October 2021, when Kishida took office. By age group, 53% of respondents ages 18-39 gave such an answer, followed by 47% of people in the 40-59 age band, and 30% among those ages 60 or older.

Asked specifically about the key measures, 81% of respondents ages 18-39 said they did not think the government’s overhaul of the My Number identification card system would resolve related problems, marking the highest figure among the 78% of respondents in all age groups who gave this response. Among the 80% of respondents who did not think Kishida had demonstrated leadership in dealing with the My Number mishaps, the highest concentration was in the 18-39 age group, at 84%.

Regarding the government’s plan to abolish, in principle, health insurance cards and integrate their functionality into My Number cards in autumn 2024, 50% of respondents in the younger age groups favored the plan in the previous survey, exceeding the 44% who opposed the move. In the recent survey, however, 55% took a dim view of the plan, while 39% supported it.

A similar trend was seen regarding the government’s response to rising prices and the low birth rate, both deemed to be crucially important policies.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents across all age groups disapproved of the government’s response to rising prices, with 91% in the 18-39 age group, 80% in the 40-59 band, and 70% of people ages 60 and over thinking so.

Meanwhile, 66% of all respondents said they did not highly evaluate the measures aimed at tackling the nation’s low birth rate. Of them, 70% were ages 18-39 — close to the 71% of 40-59-year-olds who believed similarly. In the 60-and-older age group, some 59% of respondents saw little merit in the measures.

Since dropping to 36% in November, the approval rating of the Kishida Cabinet among young respondents had hovered between 30% and 40%. But in the most recent survey this figure sank to 24%, marking the lowest figure since the Cabinet’s formation.

Policies that focus on the younger generations are likely to be a key factor if the Cabinet is to reinvigorate its ailing support rating.