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65% say central, local gov't response to Kumamoto quakes appropriate: poll

Sixty-five percent of people view the responses by the central and local governments to the deadly earthquakes that recently hit Kumamoto Prefecture as appropriate, while 13 percent regard them as inappropriate, a Mainichi Shimbun survey conducted on April 16 and 17 shows.

Respondents in the nationwide survey generally appreciated the initial response to the powerful earthquakes that struck the Kyushu region from April 14. However, among pollees in Kyushu, 20 percent found the government and municipalities' initial responses inappropriate.

Asked which political party they would choose under the proportional representation system if they were to vote in this summer's House of Councillors election now, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) topped the list at 33 percent, followed by the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) at 13 percent, the LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito at 6 percent, the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) at 6 percent and Initiatives from Osaka at 4 percent.

The level of support for the LDP remained the same as during the previous survey conducted in March, while that for the DP was down 1 percentage point. The DP had been described in the previous poll as "a new party to be formed through a merger of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the Japan Innovation Party (JIP)," as the survey preceded the DP's inauguration on March 27.

By party affiliation, 33 percent of respondents said they support the LDP, followed by those who back the DP at 8 percent, Komeito at 5 percent, the JCP at 4 percent and Initiatives from Osaka at 2 percent. Thirty-four percent of pollees said they had no party affiliation. The support ratio for the DP remained the same from the March survey, considering that the approval rate for the then DPJ and JIP combined stood at 8 percent in the last poll. Among those with no party affiliation, 14 percent said they would vote for the LDP and 11 percent for the DP.

Regarding the security-related laws that came into force on March 29, allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, 50 percent of respondents said they take a negative view of the legislation's enactment, compared with 38 percent who are in favor of it. Both figures were up 1 percentage point, respectively, from the previous survey. Since the controversial enactment of the security laws in September last year, the proportion of pollees against the legislation has constantly overtaken that of those in favor.

The survey, conducted using respondent driven sampling, covered voters nationwide with the exception of those in municipalities designated as "difficult-to-return" zones due to high radiation levels emanating from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. As the recent lowering of the voting age from 20 to 18 is expected to be applied during this summer's House of Councillors election, the survey also covered those aged 18 and 19. Responses were obtained from 1,009 people in 1,671 households, and the response rate was 60 percent.

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