A nationwide telephone poll conducted by Kyodo News on Nov. 26–27 asked respondents for their views on Japan’s host nation support, as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump stressed during the presidential election campaign that Japan should cover more of the cost of stationing U.S. military personnel in Japan (sympathy budget). Some 86.1% of respondents said “it is not necessary for Japan to increase its spending.” Some 60.7% of pollees, up from 53.9% in October, supported the Abe cabinet. This was the first time for cabinet support to top 60% in a Kyodo News poll since the poll conducted on October 26–27, 2013. The disapproval rating was 30.4%.
There is a chance that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s summits, including his meetings with such leaders as Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, fueled the rise in his approval rating.
In the question on the sympathy budget, some 9.2% said “Japan’s support should be increased.” Prime Minister Abe plans to seek [U.S.] understanding of keeping host nation support at the current level by continuing to remind its partner that stationing U.S. Forces in Japan is to the benefit of both countries.
When asked about the pension system reform bill, which would strengthen curbs on pension disbursements, some 58.0% were opposed, exceeding the 33.8% in favor.
As for the GOJ’s plans to enhance economic cooperation with Russia in the hope of making progress in the talks on the Northern Territories, 53.2% were opposed to this policy, while 36.6% were in favor of it. Concerning Prime Minister Abe’s meeting with President Putin in December in Yamaguchi Prefecture, 70.0% said they “do not expect progress to be made” on the territorial issue, while 27.3% said they do.
A full 46.0% of respondents said that they thought the Japan-U.S. relationship “would remain unchanged” under Trump. Some 37.0% said that ties “would worsen” while 6.8% said they “would improve.”
Concerning Japan’s response to President-elect Trump’s intention to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, views were split with 43.5% saying “Japan should move forward with ratifying the pact even if the U.S. withdraws,” and 43.2% indicating “it is not necessary for Japan to proceed.” When asked for their views of the government’s intent to have the TPP trade pact approved and related bills passed at the current Diet session, pollees were negative, with 69.4% saying that “the matter should be carefully discussed without insistence on having the Diet pass the TPP and related bills in the current session” and 12.6% indicating that “there is no need to pass the TPP and related bills.”
The political party support rates were as follows: Liberal Democratic Party – 44.9%; Democratic Party – 8.0%; Komeito – 3.9%; Japanese Communist Party – 3.4%; Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) – 4.1%; Liberal Party – 0.4%; Social Democratic Party – 1.7%; Party for Japanese Kokoro – 0.1%; independents (none of the above) – 31.9%.
[Polling methodology: The survey was conducted by telephone on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis on Nov. 26–27 targeting voters across the nation. However, the survey excluded some areas in Fukushima Prefecture. Among randomly generated telephone numbers, those actually for household use with one or more eligible voters totaled 1,462. Valid responses were obtained from 1,022 persons.]