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Support for Suga Cabinet drops to 30%, record low since inauguration: Mainichi poll

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, second from right, is seen during a Cabinet meeting at his office on July 16, 2021. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- The approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga fell to 30% in a nationwide poll conducted July 17 by the Mainichi Shimbun and the Social Survey Research Center, down 4 percentage points from a previous poll carried out on June 19 and the lowest figure since the Suga administration was launched in September 2020.

    The disapproval rating stood at 62% -- up 7 points from the previous rate of 55% -- which is a record low since the Cabinet's inauguration.

    Regarding the Suga administration's coronavirus countermeasures, 19% of those surveyed said they approved, while 63% said they did not. Eighteen percent answered that they could not say either way. Just under 90% of respondents who said they do not agree with the administration's COVID-19 responses answered they do not support the Suga Cabinet, while only a little under 10% expressed approval.

    The Japanese government called on liquor wholesalers and financial institutions to pressure restaurants not complying with orders to halt serving alcohol, but withdrew the request following a backlash. When asked about the government's actions, 74% said they "thought there were problems," greatly exceeding the 13% who said they saw nothing wrong with that approach. Those who said they could not say either way stood at 13%. Over 70% of those who viewed the government's actions as problematic expressed disapproval of the Suga Cabinet.

    It appears that the public has viewed the government's actions against alcohol-serving eateries as strong-arm tactics. This, along with frustration over the government's coronavirus countermeasures, seem to be linked with the drop in the Suga Cabinet's approval rating.

    The survey also asked individuals about the Tokyo Olympic Games, which start on July 23. In reference to the measure of holding most events without spectators, 36% answered that this measure is "appropriate," while 20% said they wanted events to be held while letting in spectators. Meanwhile, the largest group, or 40%, said they would have preferred that the games be postponed or canceled, and 3% said they "did not know" how they view the measure.

    Furthermore, 35% of respondents said they were "looking forward to" the games, falling below the 48% who said they "could not get into the mood to enjoy them." Seventeen percent claimed that they "had originally not been looking forward to the games anyway." While the beginning of the Olympics is fast approaching, enthusiasm among the public remains low.

    While Prime Minister Suga has emphasized making a "safe and secure games" a reality, those who felt that it is possible to hold such an Olympics stood at only 19%, while as many as 65% answered in the negative.

    The survey was conducted via texts to mobile phones and on landlines with automated voice questions. Valid answers were received through 746 cell phones and 341 landlines.

    (Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)

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