The support rate for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet fell to a fresh low of 28.3 percent, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday, with more than 60 percent of respondents not satisfied with a tax cut recently announced as part of his economic stimulus package.
The approval rate dropped from 32.3 percent marked in October, the previous record low, while the disapproval rating rose to a record high of 56.7 percent, according to the three-day nationwide telephone survey.
For an administration led by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, it is the first time since 2009 that the Cabinet support rate has fallen below 30 percent. The LDP lost the governing position in a general election that year.
In an attempt to turn around the flagging approval rating, Kishida, who became prime minister in October 2021, is now banking on the latest stimulus package to help mitigate the impact of rising inflation on households.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to reporters at Kuala Lumpur International Airport before his departure on Nov. 5, 2023. (Kyodo)
But the survey showed 62.5 percent saying they do not support a key feature of the package, a one-off tax cut of 40,000 yen ($268) per person. The stimulus also included 70,000 yen in payouts to low-income households exempt from paying income and residential taxes.
Of those who were not satisfied with the stimulus measures, 40.4 percent said they are rather preparing themselves for the upcoming tax hikes the government has already planned in a bid to secure funds for almost doubling the nation’s annual defense spending.
Among other respondents, 20.6 percent said the government should focus on enhancing fiscal discipline rather than financing to boost the economy, while 19.3 percent only saw the latest package as a government attempt to gain popularity.
The survey results might add to signals that Kishida would be forced to make a difficult decision on when to dissolve the House of Representatives for a snap election.
The declining popularity of the Kishida administration also comes amid resignations by his Cabinet members for scandals, the most recently by a senior vice minister of justice who stepped down after admitting to proposing the use of an online advertisement during a mayoral campaign in a Tokyo ward, in violation of the election law.
Over the scandals, 72.7 percent said Kishida is responsible for appointing them.
The poll also underscored the lack of public interest in the 2025 World Exposition to be held in Osaka, with 68.6 percent saying it is not necessary, against 28.3 percent who felt it is.
The result followed the government’s announcement on Thursday that it has approved the projected 235 billion yen cost for constructing the venue for the expo, nearly double its organizer’s initial estimate.
By political party, the LDP maintained the highest support rate with 34.1 percent, according to the survey. The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan as well as the Japan Innovation Party came to second, favored by 9.3 percent, respectively.
The LDP’s coalition partner Komeito garnered 4.7 percent of support.
The survey called 482 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 2,386 mobile phone numbers. It yielded responses from 417 household members and 623 mobile phone users.
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