The approval rating for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Cabinet has risen to 61.5%, the highest since he took office in October last year, as the government starts easing COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.

In the two-day telephone survey from Saturday, the rating was up from 58.7% about a month ago. It found that 53.9% of respondents backed the government's recent decision to change its policy on masks, now saying that wearing them outdoors is not always necessary, provided people are not conversing.

As the infection situation in Japan has stabilized and more people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, the government said Friday it will also raise the cap on overseas arrivals to 20,000 people per day starting next month and ease COVID-19 testing rules for travelers.