National / Politics

Abe Cabinet approval rate drops to 56%

Kyodo

The approval rate for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet has fallen to 56.2 percent from 68.0 percent in June, according to a Kyodo News poll, suggesting low expectations for the administration’s economic policies.

It is the first time since Abe took office in December that the support rate has fallen below 60 percent. The survey, conducted Monday and Tuesday after Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party won the Upper House election on Sunday, found that 31.7 percent of the respondents disapproved of the Cabinet, almost doubling the 16.3 percent in June.

Among those expressing disapproval, 29.6 percent — up from 20.6 percent — said the prime minister’s economic policies dubbed “Abenomics” do not offer much hope. This apparently reflects concerns about the slow increase in wages despite rising prices due to the weakening yen, Kyodo said.

The telephone poll of about 1,000 voters nationwide found 39.8 percent welcomed the LDP’s sweeping victory in the Upper House election, compared with 17.8 percent against it and 42.0 percent with either mixed, ambivalent or no opinion.

Given the poor showing by opposition parties, 68.8 percent of the survey respondents cited a need for realignment among opposition parties, against 22.7 percent who disagreed.

Because the LDP and opposition parties that support revising the pacifist Constitution fell short of building a two-thirds majority in the chamber, one of the conditions for initiating the revision process, 30.6 percent said the outcome was good, 16.1 percent said it was not good and 51.7 percent had no opinion.

Regarding the LDP’s desire to restart idled nuclear reactors once they are confirmed safe, 32.5 percent were in favor and 58.3 percent were against.

On the government’s plan to raise the consumption tax in April, 22.6 percent back it, 35.0 percent said the increase should be delayed and 40.5 percent favor the rate staying unchanged at 5 percent.