August 10, 2018
Tokyo- Support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet in August rose 1.5 percentage points from the previous month to 38.5 pct, while disapproval came to 38.9 pct, down 2.0 points, a Jiji Press opinion poll showed.
Approval stayed below disapproval for six months in a row.
Abe came under criticism early last month for attending a party with colleagues of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, for which he serves as president, when warnings of heavy rains were issued in western Japan.
He took a series of measures to respond to disasters caused by torrential rains, helping the approval rating to rise for the second consecutive month.
Meanwhile, the idea of creating a ministry dedicated to disaster response, floated by former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba, drew support from 72.3 pct, against 14.0 pct who opposed it.
Ishiba declared his bid Friday to run in the LDP's leadership election in September to challenge Abe.
Asked about the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air base in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to the Henoko coastal district in Nago, also in Okinawa, 34.1 pct expressed opposition, 28.5 pct support and 37.4 pct said they did not know.
The relocation is expected to be the biggest issue in an Okinawa gubernatorial election to be held as early as late September following the death of Governor Takeshi Onaga on Wednesday.
The opinion survey was conducted for four days through Monday, interviewing 1,991 people aged 18 or older across Japan, except some areas in Hiroshima Prefecture damaged by the heavy rains last month. Valid answers came from 61.8 pct.
Asked why they supported Abe's cabinet, with multiple answers allowed, 18.5 pct said there was no suitable alternative to Abe as prime minister, 10.1 pct cited Abe's leadership and 8.6 pct said Abe was trustworthy.
Of those who disapproved the cabinet, 22.4 pct said Abe was not trustworthy, 17.4 pct said they could not expect anything from the cabinet and 10.7 pct disliked its policies.
The approval rating for the LDP rose 1.7 points to 27.1 pct, while that for the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan edged down 0.1 point to 4.6 pct.
Komeito, the LDP's junior coalition partner, was supported by 3.3 pct, the Japanese Communist Party by 2.3 pct, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) by 0.9 pct and the Democratic Party for the People by 0.5 pct.
As many as 58.9 pct said they did not support any particular party, up 0.7 point. Jiji Press
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