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Support for Abe administration slips further to 30%: Mainichi survey

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Finance Minister Taro Aso (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The job approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration slid further to 30 percent in the latest Mainichi Shimbun opinion poll conducted from April 21 through 22, going down 3 percentage points from the results of the previous survey in mid-March. The ratio of those against the administration was 49 percent, up 2 points.

The lower support rate came amid public criticism of the Abe administration over an alleged sexual harassment scandal involving the top male bureaucrat of the powerful Ministry of Finance. The government also faces a tough time over the alleged hiding of operational logs for Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force when its troops were stationed in Iraq in the 2000s.

When asked about reasons why they support the administration, 47 percent said it was because Abe was "the only choice." Those who back the prime minister, and those with expectations for his policies, were 21 percent, respectively.

Among those against the administration, 50 percent said it was because they do not support the prime minister, followed by 30 percent who said they are against the administration's policies.

Regarding the sexual harassment allegations involving Administrative Vice Finance Minister Junichi Fukuda, 51 percent said that Finance Minister Taro Aso should resign over the scandal. Those who said Aso should remain at his job were 37 percent.

About the government favoritism scandal involving Kake Educational Institution, in which Abe's former secretary denied that he had called the institution's plans to open a veterinary school "a matter concerning the prime minister," 74 percent replied that the denial was unconvincing, while those who accepted the explanation stood at 12 percent.

As to the alleged hiding of the Iraq operations logs, 54 percent said they think civilian control of the SDF is not functioning properly, while 26 percent said that such management is working without a problem.

Abe is said to be seeking a third term as the president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), but 59 percent of respondents in the Mainichi poll said someone else should take over. Those hoping that Abe remain in power as LDP head was 25 percent.

On the foreign affairs front, 52 percent of the respondents were positive about Prime Minister Abe's meeting in mid-April with U.S. President Donald Trump. Negative responses came from 30 percent.

The poll was conducted over the telephone with 1,142 respondents.

(Mainichi)

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