Kishida Cabinet Approval Rating Hovers at 24%; Survey Shows Low Trust

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida raises his hand to answer during House of Representatives Budget Committee deliberations on Wednesday.

The approval rating for the Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’ s Cabinet remains at 24%, the same as the previous survey on Jan. 19-21, according to a nationwide poll by The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted over the weekend. The figure again marked the lowest for a Cabinet since the Liberal Democratic Party returned to power in 2012.

This is the fourth consecutive month that the approval rating has been in the 20% range, showing that the public is dissatisfied with how Kishida and the LDP have handled factions’ violation of the Political Funds Control Law.

As for reasons to support the Cabinet, 59%, more than half of respondents, said there was no one else good enough to replace Kishida.

The disapproval rate remained at 61% from the previous survey, with the most common reason, at 34%, being that there were no expectations for the Cabinet’s policies.

Following the series of hidden funds scandals involving revenue from fundraising parties, 18% believed that the decision by the Abe, Kishida, Nikai and other factions to dissolve themselves would help the LDP restore public trust, while 76% did not believe that it would restore trust. Meanwhile, 17% believed that the LDP’s efforts — such as questioning lawmakers or conducting a questionnaire survey on Diet members — would help assemble a picture of the actual problem, while 77% said they did not think so.

Ninety-three percent said faction leaders were not adequately explaining the scandals to the public, while 3% answered that they were.

Kishida has placed the highest priority on economic policies such as raising wages and overcoming deflation. However, only 11% saw prospects of better living conditions in the future, far less than the 79% who did not see that way.

As a counter to the nation’s declining birthrate, the government has considered establishing a so-called support fund for children and child rearing, where money would be levied on top of public medical insurance in an effort to secure ¥1 trillion of the ¥3.6 trillion in annual financial resources needed by fiscal 2028. The policy is supported by 28% and is not supported by 60% in the survey.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

LDP struggles

The LDP’s approval rating fell from 25% to 24%, for its weakest showing since the party’s return to power.

The approval rating for the LDP was 43% when the Kishida Cabinet was formed in October 2021 but fell below 30% for the first time in the November 2023 survey. Since then, it has remained stagnant in the 20% range. Independents increased from 48% in the January survey to 52% this time.

In regard to the series of scandals involving fundraising parties, the LDP conducted a survey on 384 Diet members affiliated with the party, among others, and also released a report on its voluntary submission to questioning by lawmakers, only to disappoint 69% of LDP supporters, who said such efforts would not clarify the reality of the situation.

Also, 65% of LDP supporters did not believe that factions’ decisions to dissolve would lead to a recovery of trust in the LDP.

Overall, 81% said that the LDP should severely punish Abe faction leaders and others involved. The percentage was high even among LDP supporters at 72%, while it was 89% among opposition supporters and 83% among independents.

“Distrust of the LDP over ‘politics and money’ issues has not been dispelled, and it is critical that even LDP supporters do not approve the party’s handing of the situation,” said University of Tokyo Prof. Shiro Sakaiya, who studies Japanese politics. “The prime minister will not be able to get out of his slump in popularity unless he takes tough measures to satisfy the public.”

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan kept level at 5%, Komeito gained one point from the previous survey to 4%, and the Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) lost one point, dropping to 4%.

The survey was conducted from Friday to Sunday using 714 household landlines (but no phone lines in earthquake-affected areas of Ishikawa Prefecture) and 1,660 mobile phone numbers selected via random digit dialing. Of them, 1,083 people in total — 442 on landlines and 641 on mobile phones — gave valid answers. All respondents were eligible voters age 18 or older.