The Cabinet saw its approval rate this month drop 3.4 points to 39.0 percent and its disapproval rate climb 1.9 points to 36.4 percent, a recent opinion poll shows.

The shift in the Jiji Press monthly poll appears to reflect public criticism of the government statistics scandal involving the labor ministry, and the cool response of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to the Okinawa referendum that rejected the Futenma air base relocation plan late last month.

In the latest poll, 2,000 people 18 or over were interviewed nationwide. Of them, 61.2 percent gave valid responses.

Of the respondents, 39.5 percent said they expected the Abe administration to make progress on bringing back the citizens abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s, but 48.0 percent said they did not.

Abe has repeatedly said he is ready to have a face-to-face meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to settle the long-running issue.

Regarding a recent series of child abuse cases in Japan and the government’s plan to prohibit parents from physically punishing their children, 58.0 percent backed the legal revision, while 20.5 percent opposed it. About 21.5 percent said they could not back either position.

Of those who approved of Abe’s Cabinet, 20.7 percent said they supported Abe because there was no one else fit to be prime minister, while 9.2 percent praised his leadership skills, and 8.8 percent regarded him as trustworthy.

Of those who disapprove of the Cabinet, 22.6 percent said they could not trust Abe, 17.7 percent said they could expect nothing from his Cabinet, and 12.3 percent rejected its policies.

The support rate for his ruling Liberal Democratic Party edged up 0.1 point to 25.5 percent.

The support rate for the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, meanwhile, climbed 0.9 point to 4.3 percent.

Those two parties were followed by Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, which was backed by 2.8 percent, the Japanese Communist Party, backed by 2.3 percent, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party), backed by 1.4 percent, and the Democratic Party for the People, which received support from 0.7 percent.

Respondents who didn’t support a party accounted for 60.7 percent, down 0.8 point.

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