According to the NHK public opinion survey, 48% of pollees support the Abe cabinet, down 1 percentage point from the poll conducted last month. Those saying they do not support the cabinet increased by 2 points to 33%.
NHK conducted a nationwide survey over the three-day period of Sept. 6–8 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 1,216 of the 2,368 people polled. The valid response rate was 51%.
When asked why they support the Abe cabinet, 44% of respondents said “because it seems better than other cabinets” while 20% said “because it takes action.”
Asked why they do not support the cabinet, 33% said “because nothing can be expected of its policy measures” and 31% said “because the prime minister is untrustworthy.”
Japan and South Korea continue to be at loggerheads due to the issue of “requisitioned labor” during the Pacific War and the issue of preferential trade treatment. When asked how they feel about Japan-South Korea ties [today], 32% said they are “very concerned,” 36% said they are “somewhat concerned,” 15% said they are “not very concerned,” and 9% said they are “not concerned at all.”
Asked what approach the Japanese government should take with South Korea, 35% said “Japan will have to compromise to improve ties with South Korea,” while 55% said “there is no need to rush to improve the bilateral relationship if it means Japan’s making a compromise.”
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has released the results of its inquiry into the level of benefits from government-supported pensions. Even if the economy grows steadily, benefits will decrease to about half of the average salary of the working generation in about 30 years. Asked for their views on the level of pension benefits and the burden [placed on the working generation], some 40% of pollees said “it is okay if the burden increases if the level of benefits will be maintained in the future” while 43% said “I don’t want the burden to be increased even if that means that the level of benefits decreases in the future.”
To maintain the level of pension benefits pensioners receive in the future, the government is considering expanding the range of part-timers and other shortened-hour workers included in corporate pension schemes. Some 57% of respondents said they are “in favor” of this while 23% said they are not.
The Prime Minister will announce his new cabinet on Sept. 11.
Pollees were asked which policies they think the new cabinet should place priority on going forward and then were read aloud six options. Some 28% said the cabinet should place priority on “social security,” making it the most frequently given response. This was followed by “economic policies” at 20%, “fiscal reconstruction” at 15%, and “diplomacy and security” at 11%, “rectification of disparities” at 11%, and “constitutional amendment” at 5%.
The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Democratic Party for the People have agreed to merge their parliamentary groups in both the Upper and Lower Houses in order to serve as a rival to the Abe administration. Some 19% said they “approve” of the move, while 27% said they do not, and 45% said they “can’t say either way.”
Asked how much the intensifying trade friction between the United States and China will impact the Japanese economy, 29% of respondents said it will have a “large impact,” 54% said it will have “some impact,” 7% said it will “not have much impact,” and 1% said it will have “no impact at all.” (This question is from a second article on the same NHK poll.)