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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 July 5 - 11  > Free fall in cabinet approval rating reflects public distrust of Abe administration: JCP Koike
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2017 July 5 - 11 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Free fall in cabinet approval rating reflects public distrust of Abe administration: JCP Koike

July 11, 2017
In opinion surveys conducted by a rightwing, pro-Abe daily and other major media outlets after the July 2 Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election in which the ruling Liberal Democratic Party suffered a crushing defeat, the Abe Cabinet’s approval rate took a nosedive, showing the lowest-ever level.

Yomiuri Shimbun, known as a champion of PM Abe, carried out a nationwide survey between July 7 and 9, and found that the approval rate of the Abe Cabinet fell by 13 percentage points to 36% from the previous survey taken in mid-June. This is the first time that the Cabinet approval rate fell to the 30%-level since Prime Minister Abe made his comeback to power in December 2012. In an Asahi Shimbun survey, the Cabinet approval rating dropped to 33%, down five points from the previous survey just one week ago.

In an opinion poll by Japan’s sole public broadcaster NHK, 33% of the respondents supported the Abe Cabinet, while 48% did not support. Even in a survey conducted by a major pro-Abe commercial network, NNN, nearly half (49.2%) of the respondents expressed their disapproval of the Cabinet and 31.9% approved.

These media polls included questions about PM Abe’s intent to revise the pacifist Constitution as well as about his alleged involvement in the “Kake” scandal.

PM Abe in the Tokyo assembly election campaign declared that he will submit the LDP draft constitution to this autumn’s extraordinary Diet session. Regarding this announcement, in the Yomiuri Shinbun survey, 48% said “No” to PM Abe’s attempt at constitutional revision and 37% said “Yes”. In the NNN survey, respondents who disagreed with PM Abe and those who agreed made up 45.8% and 31.2% of the total, respectively. In addition, 44.5% opposed Abe’s intent to add to Article 9 a new clause legitimizing the Self-Defense Forces.

Regarding the “Kake” scandal, 72% of the respondents in the Yomiuri poll said that Abe should explain before the Diet while 23% said there is no need to do so. Furthermore, 90% of the respondents criticized Defense Minister Inada’s remarks during the Tokyo election as being “inappropriate”.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on July 10 before the press said that the free fall in the Abe Cabinet’s approval ratings indicate that in addition to public criticism against the Abe government’s anti-people policies, a climate of mistrust of PM Abe due to his high-handed style of politics has emerged.

Koike pointed out that PM Abe exhibits a propensity to take an extremely defensive attitude toward people who share the same ideology with Abe while attacking his opponents. Koike said, “It seems that a broader range of people are feeling a sense of danger in Abe’s stubbornly arrogant attitude. This is reflected in the opinion survey results.”

Citing the July 9 nationwide protests calling for Abe’s resignation, Koike said, “I have a gut feeling that public sentiment toward the Abe government has dramatically changed.”

Past related articles:
> Inada’s remarks over SDF will lead to destruction of civil liberties [June 30, 2017]
> JCP Koike: PM Abe has no legal right to talk about constitutional revision [June 27, 2017]
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