In response to Emperor Akihito’s message that strongly hinted at a desire to abdicate, the Asahi Shimbun conducted a nationwide (telephone-based) public opinion poll on Sept. 10-11 to probe views on abdication by the current emperor. Some 91% supported Emperor Akihito’s abdication, vastly exceeding the 4% who were opposed. Support for the Abe cabinet rose to 52% (previous poll conducted on Aug. 6-7: 48%), while nonsupport stood at 29% (29%).
Of those who said they support abdication by Emperor Akihito, some 17% said that “it would be best to permit abdication only for the current emperor” while 76% said that “it would be best to permit abdication for all emperors from now on.”
All pollees were asked whether it would be best to revise the Imperial Household Law to allow women to also become emperor. Some 72% thought that women should be permitted to become emperor while 21% thought otherwise.
The poll also asked respondents how important they thought the performance of “official duties,” such as attending functions and visiting areas stricken by natural disasters, was for the emperor to fulfill his role as symbol of the state. Some 87% said the performance of official duties was “important,” including both those who said “very important” and “somewhat important,” while 12% said that it was “not important,” including those who said “not very important” and “not important at all.”