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Support for Japan’s cabinet plunges to 50 per cent: Poll

Yoshihide Suga gestures at a news conference after winning the Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership election on Monday. | BLOOMBERG. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TOKYO, Dec 6, 2020, Kyodo. The approval rate for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Cabinet has fallen sharply to 50.3 percent from last month’s 63.0 percent, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday, as the government is struggling to ensure an economic recovery while responding to a resurgence of coronavirus infections, Kyodo News reported.

As the deepening health crisis has also affected the plan to host the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next summer, more than 60 percent called for revising the plan, including 32.2 percent demanding that the events be put off again and 29.0 percent saying they should be cancelled.

It was the first time since June 2017 that the support rate for a Cabinet had dropped more than 10 points. The then administration was headed by Suga’s predecessor Shinzo Abe.

The disapproval rate rose to 32.8 percent from 19.2 percent, according to the two-day telephone survey conducted over the weekend.

The government is trying to revive the economy by supporting the pandemic-hit tourism industry with its “Go To Travel” subsidy campaign, but 48.1 percent said it should suspend the program nationwide due to fears that encouraging people to travel within Japan is worsening the spread of infections.

This compares with 11.6 percent who believe the government is managing the program appropriately. The government has limited the use of the campaign for residents in some areas to prevent further infections.

As for the government’s overall response to the pandemic, 55.5 percent viewed it as inadequate, overwhelming 37.1 percent who appreciated it.

The survey also found that 77.4 percent are discontent with the account from Abe on the allegation that his support group had illegally used political funds to pay for dinner parties for voters from his constituency.

The suspicion also engulfs Suga, who was one of his closest aides until Abe stepped down in September for health reasons.

While in office, Abe denied in parliament that the group had made up for the party costs. Recently he justified his remarks, saying he had only told the Diet what he believed was the truth at that time.

In the poll, 60.5 percent said Abe should be summoned by parliament for questioning, against 34.5 percent who believe it is unnecessary.

The survey, reaching 722 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 1,248 mobile phone numbers, yielded responses from 524 and 519, respectively.

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