TOKYO -- The support rate for the newly minted Cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stands at 49%, while 40% of respondents disapprove of it, an opinion poll by the Mainichi Shimbun and Social Survey Research Center conducted on Oct. 4 and 5 has revealed.
The nationwide poll following the inauguration of the new Cabinet showed that the support rate was far below the 64% recorded by Kishida's predecessor Yoshihide Suga when Suga launched his Cabinet in September 2020. Only 21% of respondents answered they had high expectations for the new Cabinet members, while as much as 51% said they did not.
Support rates for new cabinets tend to be high just after they are established because of solid expectations for incoming prime ministers. While the 49% approval rate for the Kishida Cabinet was higher than the 37% recorded in the Suga Cabinet's final opinion poll on Sept. 18, the figure can be said to be low compared to newly founded Cabinets in the past. Though the newest results cannot be directly compared with past polls because the survey methods were different, the latest approval rate was the second lowest in the last 20 years, just ahead of the 45% for former Prime Minister Taro Aso's newly inaugurated Cabinet in September 2008.
Asked why they supported Kishida's Cabinet, 27% said they liked the prime minister's character, followed by 25% who said they had high expectations for his policies. Another 18% said, "because it's a coalition Cabinet of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its partner Komeito." Regarding the reasons why respondents disapproved of the Cabinet, 58% of them said "because Japan's politics are unlikely to change," while 20% said they had low expectations for the Cabinet's policies.
Kishida rose to the position of premier under the slogan of "a new version of capitalism," among other policy catchphrases. However, expectations for the Kishida Cabinet by the demographic seeking changes in politics apparently remain low. This appears to be because Kishida gathered support from conventional LDP mainstream camps in the party presidential race, such as the Hiroyuki Hosoda faction, to which former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe belongs, and the Aso faction led by former Prime Minister Taro Aso.
As much as 54% of respondents in the poll disapproved of Kishida's appointment of Akira Amari from the Aso faction as the LDP's secretary-general, while only 22% supported it. Asked what they thought of the rising influence of Abe and Aso, 59% of respondents said it would "have a negative effect," far higher than the 23% who thought it would be positive.
Among LDP supporters, those who saw Abe and Aso's influence within the party as positive accounted for 47% of respondents, surpassing the 32% who said it was "negative." Nevertheless, these figures hint that there is a feeling of resistance against the "old boy network" even among LDP supporters. Forty-one percent of LDP supporters approved of the appointment of Amari as the secretary-general, while 29% said they didn't approve and another 29% were "not sure."
Respondents answered questions sent either through SMS texts on mobile phones or automated voice messages on landlines. A total of 725 valid responses were collected via mobile phones and 310 responses via landlines.
(Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)