National / Politics

Cabinet's approval rating falls to 57.9%


The approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet has fallen to 57.9 percent amid public concern with the secrecy protection bill, the latest Kyodo News survey said Sunday.

The score is down 2.8 points lower than the previous survey said in late October.

The disapproval rating for the Cabinet meanwhile declined to 26.2 percent, down 0.8 point.

The nationwide telephone survey used random, computer-generated telephone numbers to contact 1,452 people over the weekend and drew 1,016 valid responses.

According to the survey, 62.9 percent of the public thinks that passage of the government’s secrecy protection bill may lead to infringement of their right to know, compared with 26.3 percent who do not think so.

The bill would impose a prison term of up to 10 years on people who leak “special secrets” as defined by the government, which is pushing to pass the legislation before the extraordinary Diet session closes next month. The bill is tied to efforts to launch a security organ similar to the U.S. National Security Council.

Public support for the bill stands at 45.9 percent, with 41.1 percent opposed.

As for reforming the electoral system for the House of Representatives, 46.2 percent said the Diet should drastically review it before the next election.

The Supreme Court urged the Diet on Wednesday to continue its efforts and reminded the lawmakers that the vote weight disparities seen in the December 2012 Lower House election, some as high as 2.43 times, were “in a state of unconstitutionality.”

The vote disparity was narrowed to the minimum difference of 1.998 times in June by a revision to the Public Office Election Law. The amendment altered the way the nation’s electoral districts are zoned.

According to the survey, 30.0 percent of the respondents said the vote-value gap should be corrected further, while 12.8 percent saw no need to further tweak zoning.

As for the government’s recent move to abolish Japan’s four-decade-old price-fixing system for rice, 50.2 percent said they supported the policy and 39.1 percent were against it.

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