Nearly 78% of respondents called for a general election if the government is to raise taxes to cover a substantial increase in Japan's defense spending, a Kyodo News poll showed Sunday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has come under pressure, with 77.9% urging him to seek voter approval on the issue, as Tokyo is aiming to forge ahead with its biggest defense buildup program since World War II amid China's rise and North Korean threats. Meanwhile, 19.3% said they see no such need.

In the telephone poll held Saturday and Sunday, the support rate for Kishida's Cabinet stood at 33.4%, compared with 33.1% in December, the lowest since its launch in 2021. The disapproval rating was at 49.9%, down 1.6 points.