TOKYO: The approval rate for Japanese Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide’s cabinet stood at 32.2 pct in May, the lowest level since its launch in September last year, a Jiji Press monthly opinion survey showed Friday.
The reading was down 4.4 percentage points from April, according to the survey, conducted for four days through Monday.
The disapproval rate climbed 6.9 points to 44.6, the highest for Suga’s cabinet. Disapproval topped approval for the fifth successive month.
On Friday last week, the government decided to extend its third state of emergency over the new coronavirus, covering Tokyo and the western prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo, until the end of May and to include Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, and Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan, in the list.
The decline in the support rate apparently reflected the tough coronavirus infection situation in the country, with the crisis unlikely to be brought under control anytime soon. The previous lowest support rate for his cabinet was 34.2 pct, marked in the January survey, which was conducted soon after the government decided to issue its second coronavirus state of emergency.
In the May survey, the proportion of respondents who do not support the government’s responses to the coronavirus crisis rose 11.6 points to 64.6 pct.
The share of those supporting the government countermeasures fell 8.9 points to 17.6 pct. Those who answered neither or said they do not know accounted for 17.8 pct.
The survey also showed that 39.5 pct are “very dissatisfied” with a delay in vaccinations against the virus in Japan compared with other advanced countries, such as the United States, while 34.9 pct said they are “somewhat dissatisfied.”
The shares of those who are “not so dissatisfied” and “not dissatisfied at all” stood at 18.4 pct and 5.2 pct, respectively.
Of the respondents supporting the Suga cabinet, with multiple answers allowed, 14.2 pct, the largest group, said “there is no person other than Suga who is suitable to be prime minister,” followed by 6.8 pct who said they “trust” him and 6.6 pct who said “it’s all the same no matter who becomes prime minister.”
Of those disapproving the Suga cabinet, 25.1 pct said they “cannot expect anything” from it, 24.1 pct said Suga “lacks good leadership skills” and 17.1 pct said his policies are “bad.”
Suga’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party drew support from 21.4 pct of all respondents, while the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan was supported by 4.4 pct, and Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, by 2.6 pct.
The support rate stood at 1.9 pct for Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party), 1.5 pct for the Japanese Communist Party, 0.5 pct for the Democratic Party for the People and 0.2 pct each for the Social Democratic Party, NHK Jushinryo wo Shiharawanai Hoho wo Oshieru To, which campaigns against the country’s public broadcaster NHK, or Japan Broadcasting Corp., and Reiwa Shinsengumi.
Respondents who support no particular party accounted for 64.8 pct.
The interview-based survey covered 2,000 people aged 18 or over across the country. Valid responses came from 65.3 pct.