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46% support Abe cabinet, 37% do not, NHK public opinion poll

According to the NHK public opinion survey [for the month of January], some 46% of pollees support the Abe cabinet, down 3 percentage points from the poll conducted the previous month. Those saying they do not support the cabinet rose 2 points from the previous month to reach 37%.


The nationwide survey was conducted by NHK from Jan. 6 over three days on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis and targeted men and women aged 18 or over with calls placed to landline and mobile phone numbers. Valid responses were received from a total of 1,256 persons out of the 2,182 people polled. The valid response rate was 58%.


When asked why they support the Abe cabinet, 50% said “because it seems better than other cabinets” while 15% said “because the cabinet is led by the political party I support” and 15% said “because it takes action.” Asked why they do not support the cabinet, 39% said “because the prime minister is untrustworthy,” 32% said “because nothing can be expected of its policy measures,” 8% said “because the cabinet is not led by the political party I support,” and 8% said “because other cabinets seem better.”


It has been five years since the inauguration of the second Abe cabinet. Asked if they think highly of the cabinet’s initiatives over these years, 7% said they “very much approve” of them and 47% said they “approve somewhat,” while 29% said they “do not approve of them very much” and 11% said they “do not approve at all.”


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s term as president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will end this September. Asked if they are in favor of or opposed to Abe being elected LDP president again and continuing as prime minister, 28% said they are “in favor,” while 31% said they are “opposed” and 37% said “can’t say either way.”


The LDP Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision to the Constitution listed two proposals in its a summary of opinions on ways to explicitly state the existence of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in Article 9 of the Constitution: retain Paragraph 2 of Article 9, which prohibits Japan from possessing any war potential, or delete the paragraph. Asked how explicitly stating the existence of the SDF in Article 9 should be handled, 16% of respondents said “Paragraph 2 of Article 9 should be retained and the existence of the SDF added,” 30% said “Paragraph 2 of Article 9 should be deleted and the purpose of the SDF should be clearly stated,” and 38% said “there is no need to amend Article 9.”


The government’s draft budget for next fiscal year includes a defense budget worth more than 5.19 trillion yen, the largest figure ever, and funds have been allocated for new interceptor missiles and the introduction of long-range cruise missiles. Asked if they approve of this, 8% said they “very much approve” and 36% said they “approve somewhat,” while 30% said they “do not approve very much” and 20% said they “do not approve at all.”


South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said that the Japan-South Korea agreement on the comfort women issue “was wrong because the agreement was unilaterally promoted by the former administration without adequately taking into account the opinions of victims.” Asked if they are convinced by this statement, 1% of respondents said they are “very convinced” and 8% said they are “somewhat convinced,” while 31% said they are “not very convinced” and 51% said they are “not convinced at all.”


The U.S. and South Korean governments have agreed not to carry out the annual U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises during the PyeongChang Olympics, which will be held next month in South Korea. Asked if they approve of this, 24% said they “very much approve” of it and 42% said they “approve somewhat,” while 18% said they “do not approve of it very much” and 5% said they “do not approve at all.”


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