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

52% support Japan PM Kishida's Cabinet, down only 2 points despite COVID case rise: poll

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announces a decision to adopt COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency measures for Tokyo and 12 other prefectures at a meeting of the government's coronavirus response headquarters at the prime minister's office on Jan. 19, 2022. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- The approval rating of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Cabinet was 52% in a nationwide opinion poll conducted Jan. 22, down only 2 percentage points from a previous survey carried out on Dec. 18, 2021, despite a sharp increase in the number of people infected with the coronavirus.

    The poll, conducted jointly by the Mainichi Shimbun and the Social Survey Research Center, also showed the disapproval rating for the Kishida Cabinet remained unchanged from the previous survey, at 36%.

    In the past, when new COVID-19 cases increased, the prime minister's approval rating tended to fall, but this time, although the number of infected people has recently reached record daily highs, it has not led to a major drop in support.

    The Japanese government has switched its policy from hospitalization of all those infected with the omicron variant to allowing them to recuperate at home or designated accommodation facilities. Seventy-one percent of the respondents said this was "appropriate," far more than the 18% who said it was "problematic," indicating that there is little fear of the omicron variant among people.

    As of Jan. 23, the central government had placed 16 prefectures under COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency measures, including Tokyo, and more areas are expected to see the same in the future. When asked if there is a need to regulate economic activities such as for restaurants and events as a countermeasure against the coronavirus, 55% of the respondents answered that "there is no need to regulate as long as infection control measures are taken," which was higher than the 38% who answered that "regulation is necessary." If quasi-emergency measures are applied, prefectural governments can, at their discretion, request restaurants and bars to shorten their business hours or limit the number of people at large-scale events.

    As for the administration's measures to combat COVID-19, 31% of respondents said they "approve of" the steps, down 15 points from the December 2021 survey, while 39% said they "do not approve," up 13 points from the previous poll, and 30% said they were "undecided," compared with 27% in the last survey. Dissatisfaction with coronavirus measures seems to be growing in response to the spread of infections.

    Regarding the third coronavirus vaccine "booster" shots, 61% answered that they would like to promptly receive them, a drop of 4 points from last December. As in the previous survey, 21% of respondents said they did not want to immediately receive the vaccine, and 6% said they had not yet received two doses of the vaccine. In addition, 3% had already received their booster shots, which was not asked in the previous poll.

    The survey was conducted using a combination of the short message service function on cell phones and an automated voice questionnaire on fixed-line phones, and received 748 valid responses from cell phones and 313 valid responses from fixed-line phones.

    (Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)

    Also in The Mainichi

    The Mainichi on social media