According to the January NHK opinion poll, the approval rating of the Suga Cabinet stood at 40%, down 2 percentage points from last month. Disapproval was 41%, up 5 points. This is the first time for nonsupport to surpass support for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga since he took office in September 2020. The last time that the Cabinet nonapproval rate exceeded the approval rate was in the August 2020 poll taken right before former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation.
NHK conducted a nationwide survey over the three-day period of Jan. 9–11, 2021, 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 1,278 of the 2,168 people polled. The valid response rate was 59%.
Asked why they support the Cabinet, 39% said “because it is a better alternative to other possible Cabinets,” 23% said “because Suga is trustworthy,” and 21% said “because the Cabinet is led by the political party I support.”
Asked why they disapprove of the Cabinet, 40% said “because the Cabinet cannot get things done,” while 33% said “because I am not hopeful about the Cabinet’s policies,” and 11% said “because Suga is untrustworthy.”
Asked how worried they are that they or a member of their family will contract the novel coronavirus, 45% of respondents said they are “very worried,” 42% said they are “somewhat worried,” while 9% said that they are “not very worried” and 2% said they are “not worried at all.”
When asked for their views on the government’s handling of the novel coronavirus so far, 3% said they “rate it highly,” while 35% said they “have a somewhat positive view of it.” Meanwhile, 41% said they “do not rate it highly,” and 17% said they “do not have a positive view of it at all.”
The government has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo Metropolis and Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa Prefectures. Asked about the timing of the declaration, 12% said that “it was appropriate” while 79% said “it was too late” and 3% said “a state of emergency should not have been declared.” As for the geographical scope of the state of emergency, 12% of respondents said that “it is appropriate” for the scope to cover Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, and Chiba, while 47% said “a state of emergency should be announced for other areas as well,” 33% said “a nationwide emergency should be declared,” and 3% said “there is no need to declare a state of emergency.” A plurality of 88% said they expect the government “will not be able to end the state of emergency” by Feb. 7, which is the government’s end date for the state of emergency, while 6% said the emergency will be able to be lifted. The remaining 7% either said they do not know or did not answer the question.
The government is moving forward with preparations to administer coronavirus vaccines from late February. Asked whether they want to be vaccinated, 50% of respondents said they do, while 38% said they do not. The remaining 13% either said they do not know or did not answer the question.
The government aims to revise the coronavirus response legislation so that it combines financial support for businesses with penalties for violations. Of the respondents, 48% agreed with stipulating penalties, 33% were against it, and 18% either said they do not know or did not answer the question.