After the governing coalition rammed through the Diet a state secrets bill on Dec. 6, public opinion polls taken by various news media showed a sharp decline in approval ratings for the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The ratings, which had remained high at around 70 percent, plummeted by around 10 percentage points to between around 55 percent and less than 50 percent, while the ratio of those who disapproved of the administration rose by 10 to 15 percentage points.

Authors, movie producers, scholars, lawyers and others who attach importance to freedom of expression formed associations to oppose the bill, demanded more time in the Diet deliberations on the bill and even called on the Diet to block the passage of the bill. But Abe turned a deaf ear to their voices.