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70% have 'no expectations' for quasi-emergency virus measures in Japan: Mainichi poll

People are seen heading to their offices in this photo taken in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on the morning of April 12, 2021. The national government's quasi-emergency measures against the coronavirus took effect in the capital the same day. (Mainichi/Masahiro Ogawa)

TOKYO -- Seventy percent of people across Japan polled by the Mainichi Shimbun and the Social Survey Research Center on April 18 said they do not expect the national government's coronavirus quasi-emergency measures to be effective, greatly surpassing the 21% who expressed hope for the measures.

    Meanwhile, 9% of respondents answered that they "do not know" whether the quasi-emergency measures will produce favorable results.

    Quasi-emergency measures have already been applied to six prefectures including Tokyo. Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, and three other prefectures will be additionally placed under a quasi-emergency state from April 20. Among respondents from these 10 prefectures, 72% answered that they do not have any expectations for the quasi-emergency. A total of 67% of those from areas where the quasi-emergency does not apply similarly voiced no expectations.

    Nineteen percent of respondents in the 10 prefectures subject to the virus measures expressed hope for effectiveness of the measures, compared with 22% in areas not covered by measures. The number of new coronavirus infections has been on the rise in prefectures placed under the quasi-emergency measures, and it seems that there are many people who question the measures' effectiveness.

    In Japan, health care workers began receiving coronavirus vaccines in February, while vaccinations for senior citizens aged 65 or older started on April 12. When asked whether they think the vaccination rollout has been slow in Japan, 75% answered that they think it is slow, while only 17% said that they do not think it is slow. Another 8% said that they are "not sure."

    In response to a question asking respondents what they will do once they are able to receive a vaccine, 62% said that they will "get vaccinated right away" -- 13 percentage points higher than in the previous poll carried out on March 13. Those who answered they will take a "wait-and-see approach" without rushing to receive a vaccine account for 33% of respondents -- a 9-point decrease from the previous poll.

    Four percent of respondents said they will "not get vaccinated," compared to 6% in the previous poll, while 1% said they "do not know" (2% in the previous poll). Following news coverage on vaccinations starting for the elderly, those who want to get vaccinated early have increased.

    Meanwhile, regarding coronavirus countermeasures carried out by the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, 19% said they approved of them -- 4 percentage points lower than in the prior survey -- while 63% expressed disapproval -- 6 points higher than in the previous poll. Eighteen percent said they are "not sure," dropping by 2 points compared to the previous questionnaire. The fact that in many areas coronavirus quasi-emergency measures began within a month of the lifting of the state of emergency and other factors appear to have spurred growing dissatisfaction among the public toward the national government's coronavirus measures.

    The support rate for the Suga Cabinet rose to 40%, compared to 36% in the previous survey. The disapproval rate was 51%, four points lower than in the previous poll. Although the number of new COVID-19 cases have shown no signs of abating, the infections do not seem to have directly affected the Cabinet's approval rate at present.

    Support for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) reached 31%, a 1 percentage point drop from the previous poll. The approval rating of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) was 11%, up 1 point from the previous poll. Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) received 8% support, up 1 point, while support for the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) stood at 4%, also up 1 point. The LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito's approval rating reached 4%, also up 1 point; and for Reiwa Shinsengumi, the figure remained the same at 2%. Thirty-six percent of respondents said that they did not support a particular political party, down 2 points from the previous survey.

    The poll was conducted through texts on mobile phones, as well as recorded questions asked through calls to landlines. There were 764 valid mobile phone responses, and 321 valid landline responses.

    (Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)

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