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The approval rate of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet came to 35.1 percent in an in-person survey conducted by Jiji Press this month, compared with 40.3 percent in a mail-in poll last month, the news agency said Friday.

The cabinet’s disapproval rate stood at 46.2 percent, against the previous month’s 59.1 percent, outpacing the approval rate for the third straight month.

Meanwhile, the Abe administration’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic was backed by 33.1 percent, against 46 percent who did not support it.

Amid the coronavirus epidemic, Jiji Press used the mail-in method for its May and June public opinion polls, and switched back to the interview-based system in July.

In the July survey, a total of 2,000 people age 18 or older were interviewed across the country for four days through Monday. Of them, 61.5 percent gave valid responses.

Of the respondents, 52.5 percent said it was “too early” for the government to lift its request for people not to travel across prefectural borders in June, apparently reflecting a resurgence in coronavirus infections this month.

The decision was considered “appropriate” by 37.7 percent, while 4 percent deemed it “too late.”

Of respondents who supported the Abe Cabinet, 18.9 percent said there is no one other than Abe who is fit to be prime minister, 7.6 percent said they trust Abe and 5.5 percent said he has good leadership skills.

Of those who disapproved of the cabinet, 29 percent said Abe is unreliable, 25.5 percent said they cannot expect anything from his cabinet and 17.6 percent said its polices are wrong.

Also in the latest poll, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party saw a support rate of 26 percent, overwhelming the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan at 3.3 percent.

Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, was supported by 2.8 percent, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) by 2.2 percent, the Japanese Communist Party by 1.3 percent, Reiwa Shinsengumi by 0.7 percent, the Democratic Party for the People by 0.6 percent, the Social Democratic Party by 0.2 percent and NHK Kara Kokumin o Mamoru To, a party critical of public broadcaster NHK, by 0.2 percent.

Respondents who backed no party accounted for 60.5 percent.

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