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Cabinet support rate rises to 46%, NHK public opinion poll

According to the NHK public opinion survey for the month of November, some 46% of pollees support the Abe cabinet, up by 7 percentage points from the poll conducted right before the October 2017 Lower House election. Those saying they do not support the cabinet dropped 7 points to 35%.


The nationwide survey was conducted by NHK from Nov. 10 over three days on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis and targeted men and women age 18 or over with calls placed to landline and mobile phone numbers. Valid responses were received from a total of 1,236 persons out of the 2,172 people polled. The valid response rate was 57%.


When asked why they support the Abe cabinet, 42% said “because it seems better than other cabinets” while 18% said “because it takes action” and 17% said “because the cabinet is led by the political party I support.” Asked why they do not support the cabinet, 41% said “because the prime minister is untrustworthy,” 32% said “because nothing can be expected of its policy measures,” and 10% said “because the cabinet is led by the political party I do not support.”


At the recent Japan-U.S. summit meeting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to enhance pressure on North Korea to the maximum extent possible with an eye to having Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons development program and missile launches. Asked whether they approve of the outcome of the meeting, 12% of pollees said they “very much approve of it” and 51% say they “somewhat approve of it” while 24% said they “do not approve of it very much” and 8% said they “do not approve of it at all.”


During his visit to Japan, President Trump met with a former abductee and the family members of those abducted by North Korea. Mr. Trump said that he would work with Prime Minister Abe to resolve the abductee issue. Asked if they thought the President’s meeting with the former abductee and the families of other abductees will have a positive impact on moving toward resolution of the abductee issue, some 3% said “it will have a great impact” and 31% said “it will have some impact” while 44% said “it will not have much impact” and 17% said “it will not have any impact at all.”


The ruling parties of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito enjoyed a landslide victory in last month’s Lower House election, together winning more than two-thirds of the seats. Asked if they are pleased with the outcome of the election, 28% of respondents said “yes,” 28% said “no” and 39% said “can’t say either way.” Asked for their views on the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan’s rise to the position of main opposition party in the Lower House election, some 33% of pollees said “it is a positive development,” 10% said “it is not,” and 51% said “can’t say either way.”


Pollees were asked which policies they think the Abe cabinet should place priority on going forward and then were read aloud six options. Some 28% of pollees said the cabinet should place priority on “social security,” making it the most frequently given response. This was followed by “economic policies” at 19%, “fiscal reconstruction” at 16%, “diplomacy and security” at 12%, “rectification of disparities” at 11%, and “constitutional amendment” at 6%.


It is a custom in the Diet for opposition parties to receive more time for questioning than ruling parties. The LDP is calling for the allocation of question time to be based on the number of Diet seats held, while the opposition parties are against such a change. Asked for their views on how they think question time in the Diet should be allocated, 26% of pollees said “the current allotment should be continued,” 14% said “the opposition parties should be allocated more time [than the ruling parties], but the time allocated to the ruling parties should be increased,” 38% said “question time should be evenly divided between the ruling and opposition parties,” and 11% said “question time should be allocated based on the number of seats held resulting in more time being allotted to the ruling parties [than to the opposition parties].”  


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