• Kyodo


The approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet plunged by 9.7 percentage points from June to 37.7 percent — the lowest since he returned to power in December 2012 — as the ruling camp rammed controversial security bills through the Lower House despite objections by a majority of the public, a Kyodo News poll showed Saturday.

The disapproval rating also jumped to 51.6 percent from 43.0 percent last month, surpassing the approval rating.

In the telephone survey conducted Friday and Saturday, 73.3 percent of respondents said they do not support the way the security bills were passed, while 21.4 percent expressed support.

The ruling coalition on Thursday pushed the bills through the Lower House despite strong objections by opposition parties, with many lawmakers from the camp boycotting the vote in protest.

The move also prompted demonstrations in Tokyo and elsewhere throughout the country.

The bills would allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense — or coming to the aid of the United States and other friendly nations under armed attack, even if Japan itself is not attacked. This represents a major shift in the country’s postwar security policy.

The poll also captured public unhappiness over the Abe government’s explanation of the legislation, with 82.9 percent calling it insufficient. That compared with just 13.1 percent who said the explanation was sufficient.

More than half of the respondents, 56.6 percent, said they believe the bills violate the war-renouncing Constitution, while 24.4 percent said the legislation does not.

A total of 68.2 percent voiced opposition to the enactment of the legislation in the current Diet session, which runs through late September, up 5.1 points from the previous survey, while 24.6 percent said they support the enactment.

Those backing the security legislation reached 27.5 percent, compared with 61.5 percent who are opposed to it.

Meanwhile, when asked about a costly construction plan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics new National Stadium, 93.7 percent said it should be reviewed, while 5.0 percent said it should be implemented as planned.

Abe announced Friday that Japan would review the plan from scratch amid growing public criticism over its ballooning costs.

Signs of anger with the administration appeared to be growing, as graffiti critical of the prime minister was found scribbled in red on the walls and properties of an office belonging to Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party in Yamagata Prefecture on Saturday, police said.

“Japan’s shame, Shinzo Abe,” one of the messages read.

Police were investigating the case, where the graffiti was apparently scribbled with a marker, as a potential act of vandalism.

With regard to Abe’s upcoming statement to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, 50.8 percent said he should incorporate into his statement “remorse” and an “apology” to people throughout Asia who suffered under Japanese “colonial rule and aggression,” while 32.2 percent opposed the idea.

By political party, the LDP was backed by 31.9 percent of respondents, down 5.1 points from the last survey, while 11.2 percent supported the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, up 1.1 points. A total of 39.3 percent said they do not support any particular party, the latest survey showed.

The survey covered 1,439 randomly selected households with eligible voters, with valid responses from 1,008 people.

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