• Kyodo

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A total of 76.5 percent of respondents in a Kyodo News opinion poll said they are worried about the future of the economy following the planned consumption tax rate increase to 8 percent from 5 percent on April 1, while 22.4 percent said they are not worried.

The nationwide telephone survey conducted over the weekend showed that 65.7 percent plan to curb household expenses after the hike.

The poll also revealed widespread opposition to a second sales tax increase to 10 percent, currently slated for October 2015, with 65.9 percent of respondents objecting to the raise, against 28.6 percent who expressed support.

On whether the government should lift the nation’s self-imposed ban on collective self-defense by altering its interpretation of the Constitution, 57.7 percent expressed opposition, up 6.7 points from last month’s survey, while 33.9 percent expressed support, down 5 points.

The government has maintained for decades that Japan has the right to collective self-defense but cannot exercise it due to limits imposed by Article 9 of the pacifist Constitution, which forbids the use of force to settle international disputes, as well as any use of force beyond the minimum required to defend the country.

Meanwhile, the approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet rose to 56.9 percent, up 3 points on the previous month’s survey, with the disapproval rating at 30.1 percent, also up 0.4 points.

A total of 24.5 percent said they believe Abe’s package of economic stimulus measures, dubbed “Abenomics,” has helped the economy, while 70.9 percent said it has not, indicating Abe’s pledge to make economic recovery felt nationwide has so far failed to materialize.

This failure was also reflected in the 76.6 percent of respondents who said that they do not expect their household income to increase in the future, against just 17.5 percent who do.

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