Cabinet Approval Rating Almost Unchanged at 25%; BOJ Monetary Policy, Shunto Wage Negotiations Topics in Latest Survey

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivers an address at the Liberal Democratic Party’s convention in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on March 17.

The approval rating of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet stood at 25% in a recent Yomiuri Shimbun public opinion survey, almost unchanged from 24% in the previous survey.

The nationwide survey was conducted from Friday to Sunday. The disapproval rating in the latest survey was 62%, compared to 61% in the survey conducted from Feb. 16 to 18.

It seemed that public discontent has been deep rooted over the response by the prime minister and the Liberal Democratic Party to a series of scandals connected to party factions’ political fundraising party revenues.

The approval rating remained in the range of 20% to 29% for the fifth consecutive month.

Explanations by LDP lawmakers who attended the Diet’s deliberative councils on political ethics proved unconvincing, as 81% of respondents replied that they were not convinced and only 5% said they were.

Regarding whether the LDP should impose strict penalties on former senior members of the LDP faction once led by late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the problems, 83% said they think so, while 8% said they do not.

The LDP revised its party rules to toughen penalties on members who are involved in cases where employees responsible for accounting in related political organizations are arrested or indicted for violations of the Political Funds Control Law. It also toughened restrictions on faction activities in the party.

Over whether the revisions can lead to the LDP regaining the public’s trust, 64% said they do not think so, while 28% said they do.

The support rate of the LDP slid to 23% — the lowest since 2012 when it retook the reins of government — down from 24% in the previous survey.

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan’s support rate stood at 8%, up from 5%; Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) moved to 5%, up from 4%; and the percentage of respondents who do not support any specific party was 51%, largely unchanged from 52% in the previous survey.

Respondents largely approved of the Bank of Japan’s decision to discontinue its large-scale easy monetary policy and lift its negative interest rate policy, with 60% saying they positively evaluate the move, much higher than the 24% who replied they do not.

While many companies, mainly major ones, have accepted labor unions’ pay hike demands in this year’s shunto spring wage negotiations, just 17% said their circumstances will improve as a result, while 75% said there will not be an improvement.