• Kyodo


The approval rating for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's Cabinet fell 4.1 points from a month ago to a record-low 31.8%, while 65.1% of people said they don't want Suga to remain in his post, a Kyodo News survey showed Monday.

The disapproval rating rose 0.8 point to 50.6%, the highest level since the Suga Cabinet was launched last September, a sign of public discontent with the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The previous lowest approval rating for a Cabinet since the Liberal Democratic Party returned to power in December 2012 was 35.8% in July 2017, when Shinzo Abe was still prime minister.

Suga's sagging ratings have thrown into question his leadership skills, with an LDP leadership election looming and a general election due by this fall as he seeks a second term as prime minister.

With the Tokyo Paralympics opening next Tuesday, 64.7% of respondents want the event to be held without spectators, according to the nationwide telephone survey conducted from Friday to Monday.

The Tokyo Olympics, which ended Aug. 8, were held mostly behind closed doors due to the pandemic, while 19% still believe that the Paralympics should be canceled, the survey said.

Regarding the decision of the government and organizers to hold Olympic events amid the pandemic, 62.9% of the respondents expressed some degree of satisfaction about the Games, while 30.8% were dissatisfied.

As the Japanese capital and other areas of Japan have seen record numbers of daily COVID-19 cases in recent days, 59.8% of respondents cited the Olympics as one of the factors contributing to the rapid surge of infections nationwide.

With hospitals under strain due to a rising number of people in need of medical attention, 79.9% said they worry about the government's policy for treating COVID-19 patients.

Suga decided earlier this month that only patients with severe COVID-19 cases, or at risk of developing severe symptoms, can be admitted to hospitals in areas facing a virus resurgence, drawing criticism from the public and both ruling and opposition lawmakers.

The prime minister later clarified that patients with moderate symptoms who are at risk of developing severe symptoms will be admitted to hospitals.

The percentage of respondents supportive of the government's coronavirus measures fell 5.2 points to 28.7%, while those not supportive rose 3.6 points to 67.8%.

With the pace of COVID-19 inoculations slowing due to supply bottlenecks, 75.5% said they felt the rollout was sluggish.

Asked which party they plan to vote for under the proportional representation system in the upcoming House of Representatives election, 38.4% of respondents said the LDP, and 12.2% said the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

Among other parties, 6.1% cited Nippon Ishin no Kai as their choice, followed by 5.5% for the Japanese Communist Party and 5.0% for Komeito, the LDP's junior coalition partner.

The latest survey, covering 676 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 1,302 mobile phone numbers, yielded responses from 543 and 524 people, respectively.

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