According to the NHK public opinion survey [for the month of May], 48% of pollees support the Abe cabinet, up by 1 percentage point from the previous month. Those saying they do not support the cabinet decreased by 3 points to 32%.
The nationwide survey was conducted by NHK over the three-day period of May 10–12 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 1,260 of the 2,333 people polled. The valid response rate was 54%.
When asked why they support the Abe cabinet, 50% of respondents said “because it seems better than other cabinets,” while 14% said “because it takes action” and another 14% said “because the cabinet is led by the political party I support.”
Asked why they do not support the cabinet, 33% said “because the prime minister is untrustworthy,” while 32% said “because nothing can be expected of its policy measures” and 10% said “because it does not take action.”
Emperor Naruhito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1. Asked whether they feel an affinity with the new Imperial family, 32% said they “feel a strong affinity” and 49% said they “feel some affinity” while 10% said they “do not feel much affinity” and 3% said they “do not feel any affinity at all.”
The recent abdication by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus, the first in the history of Japan’s constitutional government, was based on special legislation authorizing a one-time abdication. Asked how abdication by an emperor should be handled in the future, 24% said “a permanent framework should be established for abdication by the emperor” while 65% said “abdication should be assessed on a case-by-case basis” and 2% said “abdication should not be allowed.”
There are only three male members now remaining in the Imperial family who are qualified to ascend to the throne, and Prince Hisahito is the only heir in the generation after Emperor Naruhito and Prince Fumihito. Asked if they are concerned about stable ascension, 17% of respondents said they are “very concerned” while 38% said they are “somewhat concerned” and 26% said they are “not very concerned” and 11% said they are “not concerned at all.”
In October this year, the consumption tax rate will be raised to 10%. Some 27% said that they are “in favor” of this while 40% said they are “opposed” and 26% said they are “undecided.”
There is speculation in the ruling and opposition parties that a Lower House election may be held at the time of the Upper House election this summer. Asked for their views on a “double election,” 20% said they are “in favor” while 23% said they are “opposed” and 50% said they are “undecided.”