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Support for Kishida Cabinet drops to 48% as price increases hit Japan: Mainichi poll

Japan's National Diet building is seen in Tokyo. (Mainichi/Masahiro Kawata)

TOKYO -- Support for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has dropped to 48%, while many people are feeling the impact of increased living costs, a poll conducted on June 18 by the Mainichi Shimbun and Japan's Social Survey Research Center has found.

    The Cabinet approval rating was down 5 percentage points from the 53% support rate registered during the previous survey on May 21. It is the first time the support rate has declined since February this year. The disapproval rating, meanwhile, rose 7 percentage points, from 37% to 44%.

    When respondents were asked if they had felt price increases had put a strain on household finances, 66% answered affirmatively, another 17% said they didn't think so, and 16% said they couldn't say either way.

    Japan has seen continued price hikes in crude oil and other forms of energy, in addition to higher prices for food and other items.

    Sixty-two percent of respondents said they did not have a high opinion of the Kishida administration's measures to counter price increases, far more than the 14% who said they appreciated the measures. In April the government decided on comprehensive emergency measures to offset the effects from the rising price of crude oil and high living costs, but it has been unable to hold down price increases, and people's unhappiness with this situation appears to have negatively impacted the Cabinet support rating.

    A total of 41% gave a positive appraisal of the Kishida administration's efforts to tackle the coronavirus, matching the level of support in the previous survey. Conversely, 31% gave a negative evaluation of the measures -- also the same level as in the previous poll.

    The poll asked people about wearing masks when going out. A total of 67% said they "always wear a mask," while 31% said "I take it off outside when there are few people around." Just 2% said they did not wear a mask.

    Regarding the government's move to start welcoming foreign tourists back into Japan on group tours, 46% said the move was "appropriate," 26% said it was too early to accept them, and 18% said those besides tour participants should also be accepted back. Japan is beginning to accept tourists again for the first time in about two years, and it is hoped that this will bring economic benefits, but the results indicate that there are still deep-seated concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

    The survey was conducted using both text messages (SMS) on mobile phones and an automated voice response system on fixed-line phones. Altogether 700 valid responses were received from cell phones and 295 from fixed-line phones.

    (Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)

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