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The approval rate for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Cabinet stood at 32.2% in May, the lowest level since its launch in September, a Jiji Press monthly opinion survey showed Friday.

The figure was down 4.4 percentage points from April, according to the survey, conducted for four days through Monday.

The disapproval rate climbed 6.9 points to 44.6%, the highest ever for Suga’s Cabinet. Disapproval topped approval for the fifth successive month.

Last Friday, the government decided to extend its third state of emergency over the spread of COVID-19, covering Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures, until the end of May and to include Aichi Prefecture and Fukuoka Prefecture on the list.

The decline in the support rate likely reflects the severe coronavirus infection situation in the country, with the crisis unlikely to be brought under control anytime soon. The Suga Cabinet’s previous low was 34.2%, marked in the January survey, which was conducted soon after the government decided to issue its second coronavirus state of emergency.

In the May survey, the proportion of respondents who said they do not support the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis rose 11.6 points to 64.6%.

The share of those supporting the government countermeasures fell 8.9 points to 17.6%. Those who answered neither or said they do not know accounted for 17.8%.

The survey also showed that 39.5% are “very dissatisfied” with a delay in vaccinations against the virus in Japan compared with other advanced countries, such as the United States, while 34.9% said they are “somewhat dissatisfied.”

The shares of those who are “not so dissatisfied” and “not dissatisfied at all” stood at 18.4% and 5.2%, respectively.

Of the respondents supporting the Suga Cabinet, with multiple answers allowed, 14.2%, the largest group, said “there is no person other than Suga who is suitable to be prime minister,” followed by 6.8% who said they “trust” him and 6.6% who said “it’s all the same no matter who becomes prime minister.”

Of those disapproving of the Suga Cabinet, 25.1% said they “cannot expect anything” from it, 24.1% said Suga “lacks good leadership skills” and 17.1% cited bad policies.

Suga’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party drew support from 21.4% of all respondents, while the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan was supported by 4.4%. Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, drew support from 2.6%.

The support rate stood at 1.9% for Nippon Ishin no Kai, 1.5% for the Japanese Communist Party, 0.5% for the Democratic Party for the People and 0.2% each for the Social Democratic Party, NHK Kara Kokumin o Mamoru To (Party to Protect the People from NHK) and Reiwa Shinsengumi.

Respondents who support no particular party accounted for 64.8%.

The interview-based survey covered 2,000 people age 18 or over across the country. Valid responses came from 65.3%.

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