(Sankei: June 30, 2015—p. 2)
The Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network (FNN) jointly conducted a public opinion survey across the nation on June 27-28. In the survey, respondents were asked whether they think the government’s proposed package of security-related legislative measures, now before the Diet, is “necessary.” In the breakdown of answers to this question, “yes” outnumbered “no,” at 49.0% and 43.8%. Respondents were also asked whether they know well about the security legislation, which includes a bill allowing Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense. In response to this question as well, “yes” accounted for a total of 6.3% and “yes to some extent” for a total of 50.0%.
The rate of public support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet was 46.1%, down 7.6 percentage points from the last survey conducted May 23-24. It was the second lowest figure since the launch of his rebooted cabinet in December 2012 after the 45.6% rating in a survey conducted in July 2014 when the Abe cabinet decided to change the government’s conventional interpretation of Japan’s constitution in order to allow Japan’s participation in collective self-defense to a limited extent.
For one thing, in the Diet, the House of Representatives recently held a meeting of its Commission on the Constitution, where three constitutional law scholars were summoned as unsworn witnesses to give their views about the security legislation and all of them stated that the legislation is “unconstitutional.” For another, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan convened a discussion group of its junior lawmakers, where the participants called for pressuring media outlets that are critical of the security legislation.
In the survey, respondents were also asked whether they approve of passing the security legislation during the current Diet session. To this question, “yes” accounted for a total of 31.7%, with “no” for a total of 58.9%. Meanwhile, a total of 62.4% said the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan should come up with a counterproposal.
It has been 50 years since Japan and South Korea normalized diplomatic relations. In this regard, respondents were asked whether they think bilateral relations are in good or bad shape. To this question, a total of 79.2% said “bad,” with a total of 59.1% saying they don’t think relations are moving in a better direction. (Abridged)