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Suga Cabinet's approval rating drops to 31% over COVID-19, Tokyo Games: Mainichi poll

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga arrives at his office in Tokyo on May 18, 2021. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- The approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga fell to 31% in a nationwide poll conducted May 22 by the Mainichi Shimbun and the Social Survey Research Center, down 9 percentage points from a previous poll carried out on April 18 and the lowest figure since the Suga administration was launched in September 2020.

    Disapproval ratings stood at 59%, up 8 points from the previous rate of 51%.

    In reference to the Suga administration's coronavirus countermeasures, 13% of those surveyed said they applaud the countermeasures, down 6 points from the previous survey, while 69% said they did not appreciate them, up 6 points from the previous poll. Those who said they could not say either stood at 17% (18% in the previous poll).

    Asked about the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics, 40% of those polled said that they "should be canceled," up 11 points from the 29% who responded the same way in the previous survey. Meanwhile, 23% (19% in the previous poll) said that the Tokyo Games "should be postponed again," meaning that more than 60% of those polled believe that the games should either be canceled or postponed.

    The sudden drop in the Suga administration's approval ratings is believed to stem from frustrations over the government's coronavirus countermeasures and growing criticism over the government's plans to hold the Tokyo Games as planned.

    Only 20% of those polled said that the declaration of the current state of emergency was "reasonable," while 59% said that the state of emergency "should be called across the entire country to tamp down infections." Meanwhile, 12% of respondents said the state of emergency "should be lifted at an early date to keep the economy going," while 9% said they were not sure. With the addition of Japan's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa on May 23, 10 prefectures are now under the central government's state of emergency declaration.

    The survey was conducted via texts on mobile phones and on landlines with automated voice questions. Valid answers were received through 695 cell phones and 337 landlines.

    (Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)

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