Support for Kishida Cabinet Falls Back to Its All-time Low; Worst Showing since LDP’s Return to Power

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

The approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has fallen back to its low of 24%, which was also hit in November, according to a nationwide poll by The Yomiuri Shimbun over the weekend. The figure is the lowest for a cabinet since the Liberal Democratic Party returned to power in 2012, and was slightly down from 25% in a December survey.

The Cabinet earned some recognition for the prime minister’s announcement that he would dissolve his faction following a series of political fund scandals, as well as for the handling of the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, but growing political distrust has kept support low.

The disapproval rating for the Cabinet was 61%, down from 63% in the last survey. As for why they distrusted the Cabinet, 30% said they could not expect much from Kishida’s policies, 20% said they did not like LDP-centered government, and 20% said the prime minister is not trustworthy.

Asked why they supported the Cabinet, 54% of backers said there was no other good choices.

Sixty percent praised Kishida’s intention to dissolve his faction, outstripping the 29% who did not. However, only 17% said they had high expectations for the political reform headquarters established by the LDP under the direct control of the party president, while 75% said they had no expectations. Meanwhile, 92% did not think that faction executives adequately explained the scandal to the public, while only 3% said they did.

In addition to the Kishida faction, the Abe and Nikai factions have also decided to dissolve themselves. Sixty-one percent agreed that the factions should be dissolved, 31% said they should be reformed but not dissolved, and 4% wanted the intraparty groups to stay as they are.

The LDP’s approval rating fell from 28% to 25%, for its weakest showing since the party’s return to power. The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) kept level at 5% each, while 48%, the same as in the previous survey, backed no party.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Fake news measures

In light of the spread of fake news about the Noto Peninsula Earthquake via social media, 84% thought the government should take measures against disinformation, far more than the 10% who did not think so.

In the earthquake, false information was spread about tsunami, earthquakes and rescue requests. Measures to tackle misinformation were supported by 86% of those aged 18-39, 80% of those aged 40-59, and 87% of those 60 or older.

Meanwhile, 45% praised the government’s handling of the earthquake, while 41% did not.

The survey was conducted from Friday to Sunday using 719 household landlines (but no phone lines in earthquake-affected areas of Ishikawa Prefecture) and 1,588 mobile phone numbers selected via random digit dialing. Of them, 1,074 people in total — 426 on landlines and 648 on mobile phones — gave valid answers. All respondents were eligible voters age 18 or older.