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Just under half the respondents to a recent poll said new legislation governing Japan’s response to a foreign military attack is necessary, according to Kyodo News.

Regarding a set of three bills submitted to the Diet in April, 49.8 percent of respondents said such legislation is necessary, while 38.3 percent said it is unnecessary.

At the same time, 47.2 percent said the three bills should not be passed during the current Diet session, while 39.1 percent said they would be comfortable with the passage of the bills.

Among respondents who feel such legislation is necessary, 22 percent said they are still opposed to the passage of the bills in the current Diet session, which ends June 19.

The results apparently reflect public anxiety over elements of the planned legislation, such as restrictions it imposes on the rights of private residents, and could affect Diet deliberations, set to begin after the Golden Week holiday period ends Monday.

The telephone survey was conducted Wednesday and Thursday and covered 1,755 people, 1,045 of whom responded.

A similar survey conducted in February by Nihon Yoron Chosakai, comprising Kyodo News and its member companies, found that 23.4 percent of respondents felt such legislation should be prepared promptly.

While it is difficult to draw a simple comparison between the two results — the February survey was conducted when details of the three bills were not yet known — the results suggest that more people have come to see such legislation as necessary.

By region, the lowest percentage in the most recent poll who said the emergency legislation is not necessary was in the Hokuriku region, where only 28.3 percent of people said they do not see a need for further legislation.

The result likely stems from an incident in 1999 involving two suspected North Korean spy ships in the sea off Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture.

Yasukuni visit support

More than half the people polled in a recent Kyodo News survey said they approve of prime ministerial visits to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

Some 53 percent of respondents to the nationwide phone survey, conducted Wednesday and Thursday, said they generally approve of prime ministerial visits to the controversial Shinto shrine, which honors 14 Class-A war criminals along with 2.47 million war dead. Some 40.3 percent of respondents said prime ministers should not visit the shrine.

According to a breakdown based on political affiliations, some 73.2 percent of Liberal Democratic Party supporters said they approve of these visits, while 70.4 percent of supporters of New Komeito — the LDP’s main coalition partner — said they oppose them.

Meanwhile, more than half the Liberal Party supporters polled said they support prime ministerial visits to Yasukuni.

In terms of gender and age, support was highest among women over 70 at 66.4 percent, while more than half of the male respondents in their 40s and 50s said they are against visits to the shrine by Japan’s leader.

While those who voiced opposition toward the visits outnumbered those who voiced support among male respondents in their 30s, 62.5 percent of males in their 20s said they back them, according to the survey.

The Kyodo News survey covered 1,045 randomly selected voters nationwide.

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