Tokyo, June 6 (Jiji Press)–The approval rate for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet in May stood at 38.1 pct, while the disapproval rate came to 61.3 pct, a Jiji Press survey showed Saturday.
The proportion of respondents who evaluated the government’s response to the novel coronavirus epidemic negatively stood at 60.0 pct, greatly exceeding the proportion viewing it favorably, at 37.4 pct, according to the nationwide survey.
On the timing of the government’s lifting of its state of emergency over the coronavirus, 54.7 pct said it was appropriate, while 35.0 pct said it was too early and 7.9 pct said it was too late. The coronavirus state of emergency was removed in three stages, with a full removal coming on May 25.
Jiji Press had been conducting the opinion survey through face-to-face interviews, but changed the format to a mail system in May in light of infection concerns. Questionnaires were mailed on May 21 and results were compiled based on responses that arrived by Monday.
In the previous survey, which was conducted in March in the face-to-face format and thus cannot be directly compared with the May survey, the approval rate for Abe’s cabinet stood at 39.3 pct and the disapproval rate at 38.8 pct, with 22.0 pct saying they did not know. No survey was conducted in April.
The mail survey allowed respondents to only choose between whether they support or do not support the cabinet, while past surveys left the question open-ended and thus allowed for responses that could be classified as “don’t know.” The group of people who would have otherwise given a response and fit for the third category is seen to have made their position clear in the latest survey through the limitation of responses.
Only 0.6 pct did not give responses to the question in the May survey.
On reasons for supporting the cabinet, with more than one answer allowed, 23.9 pct said there is no other suitable person for prime minister, 9.8 pct said they trust Abe and 7.4 pct said he has leadership skills.
Among those who disapproved of the cabinet, 41.4 pct said they do not trust Abe, 38.9 pct said they have no expectations of the cabinet and 29.2 pct said the cabinet’s policies are bad.
Support for Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party stood at 30.9 pct, and that for the major opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan came to 6.6 pct.
Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) saw its support rate stand at 7.7 pct, overtaking the CDPJ for the first time.
Komeito, the coalition partner of the LDP, drew support from 4.0 pct, the Japanese Communist Party from 3.4 pct and Reiwa Shinsengumi from 1.5 pct. Support stood at 1.2 pct for the Democratic Party for the People, 0.9 pct for the Social Democratic Party and 0.6 pct for NHK kara Kokumin wo Mamoru To, a party campaigning against the public broadcaster, or Japan Broadcasting Corp., while the share of people who do not support any political party stood at 42.0 pct.
The May survey covered 2,000 people aged 18 or over in Japan. Valid responses were given by 51.3 pct.