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Cabinet nonsuppport rate exceeds support rate for first time in five months as support plummets to 39%, Jiji Press poll

  • March 16, 2018
  • , Jiji , 3:07 p.m.
  • JMH Translation

According to the March Jiji Press opinion poll conducted on March 9–12, public support for the cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dropped by 9.4 percentage points from February to reach 39.3% this month, while the disapproval rate rose 8.5 points to 40.4%. This is the first time in five months since October last year for the support rate to be in the 30% range and for the nonsupport rating to exceed the support rating. It looks like the scandal related to the Finance Ministry’s altering of documents related to the sale of state-owned land to school operator Moritomo Gakuen has dealt a blow to the administration.

 

The opposition parties are ramping up their attack in protest against the document tampering and are pressing for the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso. The administration will be forced into a defensive position for the immediate future. It will inevitably impact the Diet debate on constitutional amendment, which Prime Minister Shinzo Aso is promoting, and his strategy for election to a third term as Liberal Democratic Party president in the party election this autumn.

 

Looking at the cabinet support rate by age group, support exceeded nonsupport in the teens through 40s age groups, while nonsupport exceeded support across the board among those in the 50 and over age groups. This shows that older persons are turning away from Abe. By gender, the support and nonsupport rates among men were 42.1% and 40.7%, respectively. Meanwhile, some 36.3% of women support the cabinet while 40.2% do not.

 

Dramatic rise in those who find Abe untrustworthy

 

When asked why they support the cabinet (multiple responses permitted), the responses were as follows: “there is no other appropriate person,” 19.4%; “the prime minister is trustworthy,” 8.8%; “the prime minister shows strong leadership,” 8.3%. When asked why they do not support the cabinet (multiple responses permitted), the responses were as follows: “the prime minister is not trustworthy,” 25.2%, up 8.8 points; “nothing can be expected of the prime minister,” 17.3%; “bad policies,” 14.1%. 

 

The political party support rates were as follows: LDP, 25.2%, down 3.3 points from the previous month; Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, 5.3%, up 1.1 points; Komeito, 2.9%; Japanese Communist Party, 2.6%; Democratic Party, 1.2%; Party of Hope, 0.5%. Some 58.3% said they do not support any political party.

 

Some 66.3% thought that former National Tax Agency Commissioner Nobuhisa Sagawa, who was director-general of the Financial Bureau at the time of Finance Ministry’s alteration of the documents, should be summoned to the Diet to give an explanation, easily exceeding the 21.7% who thought that is not necessary.

 

[The survey was conducted on March 9–12 through individual interviews. For the survey, a total of 2,000 people were sampled from among men and women, aged 18 and over, across the nation. The valid response rate was 61.4%.]

 

Trend in public support for political parties (%)

 

March

2018

February

2018

January

2018

Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP or Jiminto)

25.2

28.5

28.1

Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (Rikken Minshuto)

5.3

4.2

6.2

Party of Hope (Kibo no To)

0.5

0.3

0.6

Komeito (Komeito)

2.9

3.9

3.4

Democratic Party (DP or Minshinto)

1.2

0.9

0.8

Japanese Communist Party (JCP or Kyosanto)

2.6

1.8

2.0

Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) (Nippon Ishin no Kai)

0.8

1.1

0.9

Liberal Party (Jiyuto)

0.1

0.1

0.0

Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto)

0.6

0.3

0.2

None

58.3

57.6

56.0

 

 

 

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