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68% unconvinced about Aso's refusal of report on pension issue: Mainichi poll

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso are seen at a House of Councillors Audit Committee session on June 10, 2019. (Mainichi/Masahiro Kawata)

TOKYO -- A June 15-16 Mainichi Shimbun nationwide poll found 68% of respondents were not convinced about Finance Minister Taro Aso's refusal to accept a Financial Services Agency (FSA) report stating that an average elderly couple would need 20 million yen to fund a 30-year post-retirement life besides public pension benefits.

Meanwhile, only 15% were convinced about the refusal to accept the FSA report -- compiled by a market working group of the agency's Financial System Council -- by Aso, who doubles as deputy prime minister.

Even after Aso's action caused wide repercussions, the government has continued to explain that the public pension system is the mainstay of post-retirement lifestyle planning. However, only 31% said the pension system is "reliable," well below the 57% who said it is "unreliable," reflecting lingering doubts about the system.

The government's draft of its new growth strategy requires companies to make an effort to hire employees with a desire to work until the age of 70. With reference to the growth strategy, 43% of those under 70 said they want to work until that age, while 46% said they do not want to, indicating that opinion is divided on the employment of people over age 65. On the other hand, 54% of those aged 70 and over said they want to continue working in the future, far more than 29% who said they do not wish to do so.

In regards to the planned consumption tax hike from the current 8% to 10% in October, 46% demanded it be postponed or cancelled upon legal change, while 43% agreed it should be raised in compliance with the law. Although the tax hike is just around the corner, strong opposition to the move still remains.

The approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet dropped to 40%, down 3 percentage points from the previous survey conducted in May, while the disapproval rate rose to 37%, up 6 points.

(Japanese original by Satoru Iwashima, Poll Office)

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