• Kyodo

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Some 44.2 percent of Japanese voters surveyed view favorably Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s closely watched statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, a Kyodo News poll showed Saturday.

In the telephone survey conducted Friday and Saturday, 37.0 percent said they do not regard it positively.

On controversial security bills that would expand the role of the Self-Defense Forces overseas, 62.4 percent of respondents said they do not support the passage of the bills during the current Diet session while 29.2 percent expressed support.

The approval rating for Abe’s Cabinet has risen to 43.2 percent, up 5.5 percentage points from 37.7 percent in the previous survey in July, its lowest rate since Abe returned to power in December 2012.

The survey, which covered 1,447 randomly selected households with eligible voters, with valid responses from 1,012 people, showed the disapproval rating fell 5.2 points to 46.4 percent, but still surpassed the approval rating.

Regarding the skyrocketing estimated cost to build the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under a plan that has now been withdrawn, 78.5 percent said the Abe administration bore most or at least some of the responsibility. Just 18.4 percent said they believe the administration bore little or no responsibility.

On the evening of the first day of the surveyed period, Abe issued a statement marking the 70th anniversary of World War II’s end, upholding Japan’s past apologies over its wartime actions but stopping short of offering an apology of his own.

Abe also said future generations should not feel obligated to apologize for a war in which they did not participate.

Some 42.7 percent of the Japanese polled said Abe’s expression of apology was adequate, while 23.6 percent said it was inadequate and 24.2 percent saw no need for mentioning an apology.

In the poll, 31.1 percent said they support the security bills now under deliberation in the House of Councilors, up 3.6 points from the July survey, while 58.2 percent oppose the bills, down 3.3 points.

Some 81.1 percent said they do not think the Abe government has sufficiently explained the bills to the public while 15.8 percent said its explanation has been sufficient.

Also, 55.1 percent said the bills violate the war-renouncing Constitution while 30.4 percent said they do not think so.

Regarding the government’s policy of resuming nuclear reactors that obtained safety clearance from the Nuclear Regulation Authority, 55.3 percent said they oppose the restart while 36.9 percent supported it.

On the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential race scheduled for September, 72.6 percent said it would be desirable if Abe were not the only candidate running. But 22.3 percent said Abe should be re-elected without a contest.

By political party, the LDP was supported by 35.0 percent, up 3.1 points from the July survey, while 10.5 percent backed the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, down 0.7 point. A total of 39.2 percent said they do not endorse any particular party.

The survey covered 1,447 randomly selected households with eligible voters, with valid responses from 1,012 people.

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