Kishida’s Cabinet Approval Rating Plunges to Lowest Since He Became Prime Minister amid Economic Discontent, Scandals (UPDATE 1)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida enters the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday morning.

Only 24% of poll respondents support Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet, the lowest since he formed his government in October 2021.

The Yomiuri Shimbun poll conducted Nov. 17-19 showed a steep drop from the 34% support recorded in the previous Oct. 13-15 poll.

Accordingly, the disapproval rate showed a steep climb from 49% to 62%.

Dissatisfaction with the government’s economic measures and the successive resignations of key ministers are believed to be accelerating the decline in support.

The Kishida Cabinet’s approval rating has fallen below that of the previous administration of Yoshihide Suga, which hit a low of 31% in September 2021. The 24% approval rating was also the first time it was below 30% since the Liberal Democratic Party returned to power in December 2012.

Facing strong headwinds in public opinion, Kishida’s influence within the ruling LDP is waning, and the administration is entering a critical situation. The approval rating may further decline due to issues surrounding politicians and financial scandals within the LDP.

Regarding the government’s economic measures focused on addressing high prices, 66% said they did not appreciate the measures, while only 23% expressed approval. As for the proposed flat tax reduction of ¥40,000 in income tax, 29% approved, but 61% did not. The main reason for disapproval, cited by 44%, was that it seemed like a tactic to draw votes for an upcoming election.

Additionally, only 18% believed that the economic measures would lead to wage increases at companies, while 74% did not think so. Kishida plans to support tax cuts to encourage wage increases that exceed inflation, aiming to help Japan escape deflation and boost the economy. However, the situation remains challenging.

Since Kishida reshuffled his Cabinet in September, there have been consecutive resignations due to scandals involving top government officials, such as the parliamentary vice minister for education, the state minister of justice, and the state minister of finance. More than two-thirds of poll respondents said these resignations have “significantly” (23%) or “somewhat” (45%) impacted Kishida’s administration.

When asked how long they want Kishida to continue as prime minister, 52% said “until the expiration of his term as LDP president next September,” 33% wanted “an immediate change,” and 11% said “as long as possible.”

The main reason for not supporting the Kishida Cabinet was the lack of confidence in its policies (47%), followed by distrust in the prime minister (18%) and perceived lack of leadership (15%).

As for which political party respondents support, the LDP stood at 28% (30% in the previous poll), Nippon Ishin at 7% (unchanged), and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan at 5% (4%). The percentage of respondents with no party affiliation was 48% (46%).