National / Politics

Abe Cabinet support rate falls to 53% after tax hike: poll

Kyodo

The approval rating of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet has fallen 2.4 percentage points to 53.0 percent from the previous poll in September, as the consumption tax hike last week remains a concern regarding the economic outlook, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.

In the nationwide telephone poll conducted over the weekend, 70.9 percent said they are either “worried” or “worried to a certain extent” about a possible negative impact on the economy from the tax increase from 8 percent to 10 percent on Oct. 1.

The disapproval rate stood at 34.2 percent, up 8.5 points from September, according to the survey.

Abe’s government raised the tax for the first time since April 2014 to address swelling social security costs resulting from the country’s graying population and falling birthrate.

The survey showed 43.4 percent said they viewed the tax hike positively while 49.4 percent did not.

The government introduced a two-tier rate system for the first time, exempting food and beverage items from the increased rate in a bid to cushion the impact on consumer spending.

In the survey, 82.4 percent view the two-rate taxation system as “complicated.”

The survey found 24.6 percent have reduced spending following the tax increase while 74.9 percent did not.

In regard to amending the war-renouncing Constitution under the government of Abe, 48.4 percent opposed changing the pacifist supreme code while 37.3 percent supported the revision.

Abe also plans to grant pardons to about half a million petty criminals on the occasion of Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony on Oct. 22, according to officials with knowledge of the plan, but 60.2 percent opposed the plan while 24.8 percent supported it.