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43% of people in Japan hope PM Kishida will quit soon: Mainichi poll

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Forty-three percent of people in Japan want Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to "step down soon," while only 14% hope he will "stay in office as long as possible," a nationwide poll conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun on Nov. 19 and 20 has revealed.

    When asked until when they hope Kishida will remain as prime minister, "step down soon" was the most common reply, followed by "until his term as leader of the (ruling) Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ends in September 2024," accounting for 31%. Among LDP supporters, 39% hoped Kishida would stay in office "until September 2024," followed by "as long as possible" at 30%, and would resign "soon" at 23%.

    The approval rate for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Kishida stood at 31% -- up 4 percentage points from the previous survey on Oct. 22 and 23 -- while 62% of respondents disapproved of it -- down 3 points from the preceding poll. Though the Cabinet approval rate rose for the first time in four months, it remains low.

    When the respondents were asked what they thought of internal affairs minister Minoru Terada, who came under fire over political funds scandals, as much as 70% said he "should resign," far above the 12% who said "he does not have to resign." This question was asked until noon Nov. 20, before Terada's resignation as a minister was decided. Even among LDP supporters, 50% said Terada should quit, while 23% said he should stay on.

    Regarding Yasuhiro Hanashi's resignation as justice minister on Nov. 11 over gaffes about the death penalty, 70% of respondents thought his resignation was "only natural," while 19% said he "did not have to quit." Kishida dismissed Hanashi on Nov. 11 after the latter said in a party speech that his position was a "low-key post that only makes a top story in daytime news programs when he stamps a seal on documents for execution."

    The poll also asked respondents whether they thought the bill to support victims who made massive donations to the Unification Church, now formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, should be enacted during the current Diet session. Seventy-one percent of respondents replied yes, while 10% said that it should be enacted in a Diet session next year. Meanwhile, 11% said, "The law is unnecessary." Though the Japanese government intends to make the new legislation enacted during the current Diet session, its prospects aren't clear. The government plans to incorporate a ban into the law on corporations from asking individuals to sell real estate or borrow money when soliciting donations.

    In regard to the Kishida administration's responses to issues concerning the Unification Church, whose ties to the LDP have come to light one after another, 15% valued the way the matter was treated, while 63% said they "do not appreciate" the efforts, while 21% were "not sure."

    The most popular political party among respondents was the LDP, whose support rate was 29% (up from 24% in the previous poll). The support rate for the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan remained the same at 12%. Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) was supported by 12% (up 1 percentage point from October). Four percent of respondents supported Reiwa Shinsengumi (1 point down). The support rate for the Democratic Party for the People remained the same at 4%. The Japanese Communist Party was supported by 3% (2 points down), while the LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito kept the same support rate from the previous poll at 3%. Sanseito was backed by 3% (up from 2%). Twenty-six percent of respondents said they did not support any political party (down from 32%).

    The survey was conducted using a combination of text messages to mobile phones and automated voice questionnaires on fixed-line phones. A total of 639 valid responses were received from mobile phones and 427 valid responses from landlines.

    (Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)

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