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Support rate for Abe Cabinet rises to 63.3%: Kyodo poll

Kyodo

The approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet stands at 63.3 percent, up from 61.8 percent last month, a Kyodo News survey showed Wednesday, despite the government’s recent decision to raise the politically sensitive sales tax.

In the latest survey, 53.3 percent of respondents said they support the increase in the country’s sales tax from the current 5 percent to 8 percent next April as planned, while 42.9 percent expressed opposition.

The telephone opinion poll, which was conducted Tuesday, the day Abe announced the tax hike, and Wednesday, also found that 48.5 percent of the 1,014 respondents do not have a positive assessment of the government’s ¥5 trillion economic stimulus package that is aimed at softening the possible negative impact of the tax hike.

A total of 36.1 percent said they think highly of such stimulus steps.

The survey also showed that more people are opposed to further increasing the sales tax to 10 percent in October 2015, which marks the second step of the two-stage tax hike. Those opposed to the increase to 10 percent totaled 61.6 percent and those in favor 31 percent.

Meanwhile, 65.3 percent said they are against a government plan to end a special corporate tax surcharge created to finance reconstruction efforts in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region. Only 23.8 percent said they support the plan to end the tax surcharge next March, a year earlier than scheduled.

Of the respondents, 79 percent said a reduced sales tax should be introduced for items such as food.