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Cabinet approval rating returns to “pre-security legislation” level

  • 2015-11-30 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: November 30, 2015 – p. 2)

 

 According to a public opinion poll conducted by Nikkei Inc., support for the Abe cabinet has recovered to 49%, returning to levels seen before conflict escalated between the ruling and opposition parties during the Diet debate over the security legislation. It looks like the public is responding favorably to Abe’s renewed focus on the economy, as witnessed by his proposal to “promote the dynamic engagement of all citizens,” which he made after the passage of the security legislation. Among those expressing approval of the cabinet, the most frequently cited reasons were “stability” and “international way of thinking.”

 

 55% call for “prompt rectification” of the disparity in the value of one vote

 

 Regarding the “disparity in the value of one vote” in Lower House elections, 55% of respondents indicated that “the disparity should be rectified quickly so that the disparity is as small as possible” while 31% said that “there is no need to rush to rectify the disparity as some amount of disparity is inevitable.” On Nov. 25, the Supreme Court ruled that the December 2014 Lower House election was held “in a state of unconstitutionality” as the disparity in the value of a vote was 2.13 times.

 

 The Supreme Court similarly judged the 2012 Lower House election to have been held “in a state of unconstitutionality” when the disparity in the value of a vote was found to have been 2.43 times. In the November 2013 poll conducted immediately after that Supreme Court decision, 59% of respondents said that “the disparity should be rectified quickly” while 26% indicated that “there is no need to rush.” The measure taken to rectify the value of one vote in the 2014 Lower House election may have gained a certain level of approval.

 

 Among LDP supporters, 47% said that “the disparity should be rectified quickly” – which is lower than the overall figure – while 39% said that “there is no need to rush to rectify the disparity.”

 

 64% “approve” of acceleration of talks on the comfort women issue

 

 At their first meeting on Nov. 2, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye agreed to accelerate discussions with an eye to reaching a prompt conclusion of the "comfort women" forced to serve in Japanese military brothels during World War II. A total of 64% of respondents “approve” of this agreement, exceeding the 21% who indicated that they “disapprove.” A total of 70% of those supporting the cabinet approved while 63% of those not supporting the cabinet also approved of the Japan-South Korea agreement. The two countries will discuss this issue on various levels, including at the foreign minister level.

 

 37% say they have “high expectations” for Osaka Ishin no Kai

 

 A total of 37% of respondents said that they “have high expectations” for Osaka Ishin no Kai, a national political party formed by Osaka City Mayor Toru Hashimoto. This figure falls below the 49% who said that they “did not have high expectations” of the party. In the survey taken on Oct. 23–25 before the party was formed, 28% said that they “have high expectations” for the party while 56% said that they “did not have high expectations.”

 

 It seems that expectations for the party have increased as candidates of Osaka Ishin no Kai, a regional political party [whose name differs from the national party only in the way “Osaka” is written in Japanese] won both the gubernatorial and the mayoral elections for Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City, respectively, on Nov. 22.

 

 Almost half of respondents in the Kansai region (the four prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Hyogo) – 48% – said they “have high expectations” for Osaka Ishin no Kai, exceeding the 43% indicating that they “did not have high expectations.” Osaka Ishin no Kai was added to the list of political parties starting with this November survey, and the party garnered a support rate of 3%. In the Kansai region, the support rate was 12%, making it second only to the Liberal Democratic Party (29%) and higher than the Democratic Party of Japan, Komeito, and the Japanese Communist Party. (Abridged)

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