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Over 77% of people in Japan feel anxious or worried, up sharply from the level seen before the pandemic, a Cabinet Office survey conducted last autumn has shown.

People who answered they felt somewhat anxious or worried accounted for 77.6% of the total respondents, hitting the highest level since the survey began in fiscal 1981 and shooting up from 63.2% in the previous survey in fiscal 2019, the government agency said Friday.

The top source of concern was their health, cited by 60.8% of the total, followed by post-retirement life plans, picked by 58.5%, and income and asset outlook, chosen by 55%, the latest survey found.

On the other hand, those who were satisfied with the leisure time they were spending made up only 34.3%, down 28.4 percentage points from the previous survey.

The sharp decline "can be attributed to COVID-19 restrictions and an economic slowdown" caused by the virus crisis, an official in charge of the public opinion poll said.

Among other findings were that 67.4% wanted the government to put policy priority on social security and 65.8% on coronavirus response, while economic measures and addressing the country's aging population, highly favored policy focus areas in previous surveys, were selected by 55.5% and 51.2%, respectively.

The latest survey was conducted by email for the first time and ran from Sept. 16 to Oct. 24. A total of 3,000 Japanese nationals age 18 or older were polled nationwide and valid responses were given by 63.2% of them.

The government agency could not conduct the annual survey in fiscal 2020 due to the coronavirus.

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