The Cabinet’s public approval rating has plummeted to 38.9 percent, with the majority of respondents opposed to the Diet’s enactment of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s contentious security laws, according to the latest Kyodo News survey.
The nationwide telephone survey, conducted Saturday and Sunday, found that the support rate for Abe’s Cabinet was down more than four points from the 43.2 percent logged in the previous survey in mid-August.
The poll was conducted just hours after the Diet enacted the new security laws allowing the Self-Defense Forces to play a bigger role overseas. The legislation permits Japanese troops to use force to defend allies under armed attack even when Japan is not being attacked, and expands the scope of SDF arms use in U.N. peacekeeping operations.
The survey covered 1,456 randomly selected households with eligible voters and drew valid responses from 1,017 people.
Only 14.1 percent of the respondents said the Diet had sufficiently deliberated the security bills before enactment, and 79.0 percent said there had not been enough deliberation.
Some 68 percent said the new laws will increase the risk of Japanese troops facing combat. Only 2.5 percent said the chance of actual fighting will decrease and 27.1 percent said the new laws will have no effect on the possibility of the SDF engaging in combat.
The Cabinet’s disapproval rating jumped to 50.2 percent from 46.4 percent, keeping it well above the approval rate.
Regarding measures considered by the Abe administration to reduce the impact of the consumption tax hike to 10 percent in April 2017, 72.8 percent said setting a lower rate on certain products such as food and beverages would be preferable, while 13.1 percent called for a tax refund on selected purchases instead.
On Abe’s uncontested re-election as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party earlier this month, 69.3 percent said there should have been at least one other candidate and that a vote should have been held. Only 24.3 percent were happy to see him return unopposed.
As for party preference, 32.8 percent of the respondents backed the LDP, down 2.2 points from August, and 9.5 percent backed the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, down 1.0 point.
The survey showed that 43.6 percent do not support any particular party, up 4.4 points.