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57% are “optimistic” progress will be made on Northern Territories issue, Asahi poll

In the nationwide (telephone-based) poll conducted on Jan. 19–20 by the Asahi Shimbun, the Abe cabinet support rate was 43%, up slightly from the 40% found in the previous poll conducted on Dec. 15–16, 2018. The nonsupport rate was 38% (previous poll: 41%).


The survey probed views on the Northern Territories issue. Some 57% said they are “optimistic” that progress will be made toward the resolution of the issue under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, exceeding the 37% who are “pessimistic.”


Some say that Russia should hand over the islands of Shikotan and Habomai to Japan and that Japan and Russia should aim to conduct joint economic activities on Kunashiri and Etorofu. Respondents were split on this approach, with 38% saying they are “in favor” of it and 40% indicating they are “opposed.” Even Liberal Democratic Party supporters were divided on this matter, with 43% of supporters favoring it and 41% opposed to it.


Some 80% said that they find “unacceptable” Russia’s insistence that Japan recognize Russia’s sovereignty over the four islands that make up the Northern Territories.


Some 48% said that they “do not approve” of the Abe administration’s stance toward South Korea in light of the requisitioned labor issue and the illumination of a fire-control radar on a Japan Self-Defense Forces plane. Only 38% said that they support it. Among cabinet supporters, however, some 54% support it and 34% do not.


As part of the construction work for the relocation of the U.S. military’s Futenma Air Station (Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture) to the Henoko district of Nago, the government continues to engage in earth-pouring operations to reclaim land along the coast. Some 58% said that they are “opposed” to the continuation of the operations, while 28% said they are “in favor” of them continuing. (Abridged)

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