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Cabinet’s support rate drops to 45.8%

JIJI

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Public support for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in June fell 2.2 points from the previous month to 45.8 percent, an opinion poll said Friday.

The disapproval rate meanwhile climbed 3.3 points to 34.0 percent, worsening for the first time in six months, the Jiji Press poll said.

The four-day, interview-based poll covered 2,000 adults across the country and ended Monday, drawing valid responses from 64.2 percent.

The drop in support is apparently related to the opposition parties, which are ratcheting up their fight against the government’s contentious security bills. During Diet testimony last week, three prominent constitutional scholars described Abe’s national security bills as unconstitutional, including one scholar the ruling coalition thought was on its side.

The support rate was also apparently affected by the massive data breach at the Japan Pension Service, which runs the nation’s public pension system, last week.

The poll said 12 percent of respondents think the security bills should be scrapped.

The bills, based on Abe’s reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Constitution, are designed to pave the way for Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, or coming to the aid of an ally under attack even when Japan itself is not.

Some 68.3 percent want the bills to undergo careful deliberation without sticking to Abe’s goal of passing them before the Diet closes for the summer.

By contrast, 13.6 percent called for the bills to be passed during the current session.

The poll said 46.8 percent see the need for collective self-defense when it comes to national security, while 37.4 percent described it as unnecessary.

Among those who support the Abe Cabinet, the largest group, 19.4 percent, said there is no suitable alternative for prime minister, followed by 14.9 percent who said Abe is showing strong leadership and 11.0 percent who said they trust him.

Of those who don’t support the Abe Cabinet, 16.0 percent said they do not trust Abe, followed by 15.0 percent who suggested its policies are bad and 14.7 percent who said they have no high expectations for the Cabinet.

The poll also said the support, rather than disapproval, rate for Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party rose 1.0 point to 24.2 percent.

The support rates for the opposition parties were: 6.4 percent for Democratic Party of Japan, 2.8 percent for Japanese Communist Party, and 1.5 percent for Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party).

The LDP’s coalition partner, Komeito, had a support rate of 2.7 percent.

Swing voters, who don’t support a particular party, meanwhile rose 1.7 points to 61.1 percent, topping 60 percent for the first time since November.