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Secrets law bruises Abe’s ratings

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Opinion polls conducted over the weekend found a sharp decline in the Cabinet’s public approval rate, indicating Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might have expended too much of his political capital in enacting the controversial state secrets law.

According to a Kyodo News survey, the Cabinet’s support rate fell 10.3 percent points to 47.6 percent from the previous poll last month. It is the first time this Cabinet’s rating has fallen below 50 percent in a Kyodo survey.

A poll by the JNN television network reported a 13.9 point fall to 54.6 percent, while the daily Asahi Shimbun reported a 7 point drop to 46 percent from a month earlier.

In the Kyodo poll, 54.1 percent of the respondents said the law should be revised immediately when the Diet opens next month. Another 28.2 percent said it should be scrapped, and only 9.4 percent said it should be put into force as it is currently stands.

At a news conference Monday, Abe claimed the law will never expand the scope of state-designated secrets, and “ordinary citizens would never be involved” in crackdowns on those who illegally leak them.

Rather, the law will clarify the rules for designating state secrets and leave records of which officials were responsible, Abe said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said earlier Monday that Abe’s administration expected that passing the controversial legislation would hurt its public support, and that a double-digit fall was “within the range of our prediction.”

“It’s true it is difficult to win (people’s) understanding of this law,” Suga said.

He argued that the law is designed to protect national security and the people’s peace of mind, and the Cabinet was determined to push it through despite the political cost.

  • Antoine B.

    This incident illustrate how flawed our so-called democracies are. Politicians consider that by winning elections, they are given authorization to do anything as they please, but this is completely against the principles of democracy!

    The new technologies would allow to consult very often the citizens on the course of action the country is taking and to confirm wether or not they agree with a new law.

    But instead of that, the politicians do whatever they can to confiscate the decision power as soon as they can and use it to pass controversial laws under the pretense that “they know better” than those who elected them!!!!! nonsense and hypocrisy!!!

    Abe is the worse prime minister Japan elected in many many years: at least the previous ones were mostly harmless.

    • http://www.sheldonthinks.com/ Andrew Sheldon

      But they are given authorisation to do anything ‘as they please’….that’s why they do it, and we don’t like it. But how can you complain, without sanctioning this extortive, morally relativist system, which only offers you ‘heads you lose’ or ‘tails you lose’.