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56% feel Japan-U.S. relations will worsen under Trump: survey

Fifty-six percent of respondents in a recent Mainichi Shimbun poll said that the Japan-U.S. relationship will worsen under President Donald Trump.

The Mainichi Shimbun conducted an opinion poll on Jan. 21 and 22. When asked about the future relationship between Japan and the United States under the administration of the new U.S. president, 56 percent said it will worsen, 29 percent said it will remain the same and 5 percent said they think it will improve. Considering that 45 percent of pollees in the previous survey taken in December last year after the U.S. presidential election said they think the bilateral relationship will be unchanged, more people have become concerned about Japan-U.S. relations under President Trump.

Trump said in his inaugural address that he will transfer power from the establishment in Washington D.C. and give it back to "the people." Trump's victory in the election is seen as a result of him winning support from those who were dissatisfied with established politics. In the recent Mainichi survey, 51 percent of respondents said they had hope for the emergence of a new political party or non-established political leaders in Japan, while 41 percent said they had no such optimism.

Asked about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "Abenomics" policy mix, 46 percent did not approve of his flagship economic measures, while 43 percent were in favor of such steps. The difference between the pros and cons of Abenomics has shrunk from a survey in April 2016, where 54 percent said they were dissatisfied with the policy mix and 33 percent supported it.

Seventy-four percent of pollees said they supported the government's decision to have the Japanese ambassador to South Korea return home temporarily in response to the placement of a new statue dedicated to so-called "comfort women" in front of the Japanese Consulate General in Busan, while 17 percent opposed the measure.

Meanwhile, the approval rate of the Abe Cabinet was 55 percent, up four points from the previous survey. The disapproval rate was 28 percent, down four points from the earlier poll. It was the first time the Abe Cabinet's approval rate reached 55 percent since a survey in March 2014. In particular, 62 percent of men supported the current Cabinet.

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