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49% approve Japanese gov't response to coronavirus: Mainichi poll

In this Feb. 29, 2020 file photo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a speech on the government's request to close all schools in Japan, at the prime minister's office in Tokyo. (Mainichi/Masahiro Kawata)

TOKYO -- Nearly half of respondents in a recent Mainichi Shimbun survey said they approved the government's response to the spread of the new coronavirus, while 45% said they didn't.

The poll conducted on March 14 and 15 shows that the respondents were divided over measures the government is taking to prevent the spread of infections with the novel coronavirus. Of the pollees, 49% approved the government's efforts to bring the viral outbreak under control, while 45% disapproved.

Meanwhile, the approval and disapproval ratings for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were 43% and 38%, respectively -- almost the same levels as the previous survey conducted in January in which 41% backed the administration while 37% didn't.

An overwhelming majority, 75%, answered that it was inevitable that various events with large numbers of participants have been canceled or postponed at the request of the government to help prevent infections. The figure is well above the 21% who replied that event organizers have been exercising excessive self-restraint in canceling or delaying events.

In the survey, the Mainichi Shimbun called landline and mobile phone numbers randomly selected by computer. Responses were gained from 572 pollees out of 940 households with at least one eligible voter aged 18 or older and 605 out of 729 mobile phone owners aged at least 18.

(Japanese original by Yuri Hirabayashi, Poll Office)

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