• Kyodo


A majority of Japanese people — 83.8 percent — are concerned the administration of new U.S. President Donald Trump could create global instability, according to a Kyodo News survey conducted Saturday and Sunday.

Only 13.1 percent of the respondents to the nationwide telephone survey said they are not concerned about the administration of Trump, who was sworn in on Jan. 20 and is pushing an “America First” agenda on trade and immigration.

Meanwhile, the support rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet stood at 59.6 percent, up 4.8 points from the previous survey last month. Its disapproval rating stood at 27.2 percent, down from 34.1 percent.

Concern in Japan over ties with the United States has grown since Trump withdrew from the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, initiated by his predecessor and championed by Abe.

The president has also accused Japan of trade practices in the automobile sector that are “not fair” to U.S. companies, while it also remains uncertain how far Washington will commit to defending Japan under the countries’ security pact.

The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of bilateral ties during a telephone conversation Saturday, ahead of their summit scheduled to be held in Washington on Feb. 10.

On Japan-U.S. ties in the survey, 54.6 percent said relations will deteriorate, 34.4 percent said bilateral ties will remain the same, and 4.5 percent said they will improve.

In the latest survey, 52.6 percent favored pursuing a trade deal with the United States, while 36.4 percent said there is no need.

On other key issues, 63.3 percent said they favor the establishment of a permanent system to allow future emperors as well as the present monarch, Emperor Akihito, to abdicate rather than special one-off legislation, while 26.9 percent supported the government’s plan for one-off legislation.

Of the respondents, 73.8 percent said the eligibility of members of female Imperial branches to ascend the throne as well as allowing female members to remain within the Imperial family after marriage should be discussed, while 21.1 percent said there was no need for such discussion.

On changing the Constitution while Abe is in office, 45 percent expressed opposition while 43.7 percent expressed support.

The survey also found that 48.3 percent believe Abe’s administration is ultimately responsible for a scandal over the education ministry illegally helping a senior official to land a post-retirement job, while 43.9 percent do not.

As for a bill criminalizing conspiracy to commit terrorism, 42.6 percent said they were in favor while 40.7 percent were not.

In the poll, 42.5 percent of respondents said they supported Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, while Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, was backed by 3.6 percent. The largest opposition Democratic Party was supported by 7.3 percent.

Kyodo reached out to 1,449 households by telephone, of which 1,010 people offered answers.

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