The approval rate for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet in May fell to 38.1 percent while its disapproval rate shot up to 61.3 percent, a survey showed Saturday.
The proportion of respondents who gave bad scores to the state response to the coronavirus pandemic stood at 60 percent, dwarfing the 37.4 percent who expressed favorable views, according to the nationwide survey, conducted by Jiji Press.
On the timing of the government’s decision to lift the state of emergency, 54.7 percent said it was appropriate, 35 percent said it was too early and 7.9 percent said it was too late. The emergency was removed in three stages, with full removal declared on May 25.
Jiji Press was using face-to-face interviews to conduct the opinion poll but changed the mail-in format in May in light of infection concerns. The questionnaires were mailed on May 21 and the results were compiled based on responses that arrived by Monday.
In the previous survey in March, which was performed in the face-to-face format and can’t be directly compared with the May survey, the Cabinet’s approval rate was 39.3 percent and its disapproval rate was only 38.8 percent, with the remainder saying they had no opinion. No survey was conducted in April.
The mail-in survey only allowed respondents to express whether they support or do not support the Cabinet, while past surveys left the question open-ended to allow responses that could be classified as “don’t know.”
Limiting the responses appears to have helped this group express its position more clearly in the May survey: Only 0.6 percent failed to respond to the question.
The May survey covered 2,000 people 18 or older in Japan and drew valid responses from 51.3 percent.
Asked why they support the Cabinet, with multiple answers allowed, 23.9 percent said there is no other person suitable to be prime minister, 9.8 percent said they trust Abe, and 7.4 percent said he has leadership skills.
Asked why they disapprove of the Cabinet, 41.4 percent said they don’t trust Abe, 38.9 percent said they have no expectations of the Cabinet, and 29.2 percent said its policies are bad.
Support for Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party stood at 30.9 percent. Support for the nation’s biggest opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, stood at 6.6 percent.
Opposition party Nippon Ishin no Kai saw its support rate climb to 7.7 percent, overtaking the CDP for the first time.