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Over 70% think ex-PM Abe's shooting affected outcome of Japan election: survey

People pray near the scene where former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated, in this photo taken in the city of Nara on July 15, 2022. (Mainichi/Daiki Takikawa)

TOKYO -- Over 70% of respondents surveyed in a nationwide opinion poll in Japan on July 16 and 17 believe that the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe affected the outcome of the July 10 House of Councillors election.

    The poll, conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun and the Social Survey Research Center, asked respondents if they thought the July 8 incident, in which the former prime minister was fatally shot during a stump speech for a candidate, affected the results of the election. A total of 71% said they thought the incident influenced the outcome, while 19% said they didn't think so. Ten percent of respondents said they were unsure.

    The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won a landslide victory in the upper house vote, securing 63 seats, a majority of the 125 that were contested.

    Regarding Abe's achievements, 37% of the respondents answered that they "highly evaluate" them. Combined with the 33% who responded that they "appreciate them to some extent," 70% gave a positive evaluation. On the other hand, a total of 30% said they did not appreciate his achievements, with 17% not appreciating them very much and 12% not appreciating them at all.

    Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has announced that Abe's funeral will be held this fall as a state funeral, but some opposition parties have voiced their disapproval of such plans.

    Meanwhile, the approval rating for the Kishida Cabinet in the poll reached 52%, up 4 percentage points from the 48% recorded in the previous survey on June 18. The disapproval rating was down 7 points from 44% to 37%.

    When asked to select one policy they would like the Kishida administration to address as its top priority, the most common response was economic stimulus at 31%, followed by price measures at 24%. These were followed by diplomacy and security at 11%, measures to combat the declining birth rate at 10%, constitutional amendment at 10%, and social security at 9%.

    Regarding the question of whether they think Japanese society will be better off in three years, when the next upper house election is held, only 14% of respondents answered that they think it will be.

    Political parties that favor constitutional amendment increased their seats in the upper house contest, and when asked if they would like to see discussions on constitutional reform proceed, 53% of respondents said they would, significantly higher than the 30% who said they would not.

    In the July 10 election, the four parties in favor of constitutional revision -- the LDP and its junior coalition partner Komeito, the conservative opposition Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) and the Democratic Party for the People -- won a combined 93 seats, and together with uncontested seats, they secured more than two-thirds of the seats in the upper chamber required for amendments to be proposed.

    The survey was conducted using a combination of text messages on mobile phones and automated voice questionnaires on fixed-line phones. A total of 621 valid responses were received from mobile phones and 410 valid responses from landlines.

    (Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)

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