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The approval rate for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet fell to 32.7 percent in August, the second-lowest level since his current administration was launched in December 2012, a Jiji Press opinion poll showed Friday.

The rate was down 2.4 percentage points from July. The lowest support rate for the Cabinet was 29.9 percent, marked in July 2017.

The disapproval rate for the Abe Cabinet in this month rose 2.0 points to 48.2 percent, the second highest level since its launch, after 48.6 percent in July 2017.

The survey showed that 59.6 percent of respondents do not support the Abe administration’s measures in response to the novel coronavirus crisis, far higher than 19.4 percent who back them.

On the government’s Go To Travel campaign, launched on July 22 to support the nation’s tourism industry, which has been taking a hit from the epidemic, 82.8 percent said the launch was too early, against 9.0 percent who saw the timing as appropriate and 4.0 percent who said the start was too late.

The proportion of respondents who said the government should declare a coronavirus state of emergency again came to 54.5 percent, compared with 23.5 percent who said the government should not do so.

The Abe government issued a state of emergency over the epidemic on April 7 for Tokyo and six other prefectures with spikes in coronavirus cases and expanded it to cover the 40 other prefectures of the country as well on April 16. The state of emergency was lifted in stages in May.

Of respondents approving the Abe administration, 17.8 percent said there is no one other than Abe who is suitable to be prime minister, 7.1 percent said they trust him and 5.4 percent said he has good leadership skills.

Of those disapproving of the cabinet, 25.9 percent said they cannot expect anything from the Abe Cabinet, 25.7 percent said they cannot trust him and 18.7 percent said the Cabinet’s policies are bad.

Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party had a support rate of 24.2 percent, far higher than 3.5 percent for the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, according to the August opinion poll.

The support rate stood at 3.3 percent for Komeito, the coalition partner of the LDP, 1.6 percent for the Japanese Communist Party, 1.5 percent for Nippon Ishin no Kai, 0.6 percent for the Democratic Party for the People, 0.6 percent for Reiwa Shinsengumi, 0.5 percent for the Social Democratic Party and zero percent for NHK kara Kokumin wo Mamoru To, which campaigns against the nation’s public broadcaster NHK, or Japan Broadcasting Corp.

As for the most suitable person to become the country’s next prime minister, Shigeru Ishiba, former secretary-general of the ruling LDP, was chosen by 24.6 percent of respondents, up 3 percentage points from the last survey that covered the subject, conducted in February, in which Ishiba also topped the ranking of possible candidates.

Among respondents who support the LDP, Ishiba was also chosen as the favorite to become the prime minister after Abe’s current three-year term as president of the LDP ends in September 2021, beating him by over 10 points.

Among all respondents, Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi ranked second, with 12.3 percent, and Abe third, with 9.2 percent.

The top three positions remained unchanged from the February poll, but Koizumi and Abe each suffered declines in popularity.

Defense Minister Taro Kono rose to fourth, with 7.8 percent, followed by LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Fumio Kishida, with 6.0 percent. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga ranked sixth, with 4.5 percent, while Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi came in 10th, with 0.8 percent.

Among respondents who support the LDP, Ishiba topped the list, with 28.5 percent, followed by Abe, with 18.0 percent. Koizumi ranked third, with 11.1 percent.

The survey was conducted between Aug. 7 and Monday, covering 1,977 people aged 18 or older. Valid responses were collected from 63.7 percent of them. The August survey excluded the prefecture of Okinawa, reflecting the spread of the new coronavirus there.

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