Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

Approval rating for Japan PM Suga's Cabinet dives amid discontent over COVID-19 response

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks during a press conference at his office in Tokyo on Dec. 4, 2020. (Pool photo)

TOKYO -- Approval ratings for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga dropped 17 percentage points from a previous poll conducted on Nov. 7 to 40%, in a nationwide public opinion survey carried out by the Mainichi Shimbun and the Social Survey Research Center on Dec. 12.

    The percentage of people who said they disapproved of the Cabinet rose from the previous 36% to 49%, marking the first time that the ratio of those who do not support it surpassed support since its launch in September. At its start, 64% of those surveyed said they approved of the Cabinet, while 27% said they disapproved.

    Asked about the Suga administration's efforts to combat the novel coronavirus, 14% of respondents said they approved, down 20 points from 34% who said they approved in the Nov. 7 poll, while 62% said they disapproved, up 35 points from 27% in the previous poll. The low support for the administration's novel coronavirus measures appears to have resulted in the huge drop in support for the Suga administration.

    As for Japan's medical and testing system, 69% said they had doubts about it, while 17% said they did not have any doubts and 14% said they had no opinion either way. In one August poll, 62% had said they had doubts, while 23% said they did not. Japan is in a third wave of coronavirus infections, with new case records being broken day after day. Many people seem to be feeling a sense of crisis over the overstrained healthcare system due to the surge in the number of severe COVID-19 cases.

    Asked whether they thought that the government should declare another state of emergency over the coronavirus, 57% of respondents said that the government should do so, while 28% said they didn't think it was necessary, and 15% said they didn't know. The Japanese government issued a state of emergency declaration for approximately 1 1/2 months from April to May this year.

    Support for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) dropped from 37% in the previous poll to 33%. The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP)'s approval rating went from 11% in the last poll to 12% this time around; support for Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) rose from 6% to 8%; for the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) it went from 5% to 6%; the LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito's approval rating dropped from 4% to 3%; for Reiwa Shinsengumi, the figure went from 3% to 2%; for the Democratic Party for the People (DPFP), the percentage stayed at 1%; for the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the number went from 0% to 1%; and for the Party to Protect the People from NHK, the figure stayed at 1%. Thirty-one percent of respondents said that they did not support a political party, a figure that remained unchanged from the previous poll.

    Those who said that the government's "Go To Travel" tourism subsidy campaign should be cancelled comprised 67% of respondents, far exceeding the 19% who said that it should be continued. Just 13% of respondents said that they "do not know" what should be done about the campaign. The government's coronavirus advisory subcommittee recommended that the government temporarily halt the campaign in areas where there have been a sudden increase in coronavirus cases. On Dec. 11, Prime Minister Suga said he was not thinking about putting a temporary halt on a national level to the travel campaign, and intended to continue with it.

    Regarding travel and visiting family for the year-end and New Year's holidays, 78% said they "did not plan" to do so, while only 15% said they did. Seven percent said they had yet to make up their minds.

    The poll was conducted through texts on mobile phones, as well as recorded questions asked through calls to landlines. There were 714 valid mobile phone respondents and 351 valid landline respondents.

    (Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)

    Also in The Mainichi

    The Mainichi on social media