Abe Cabinet support rating plunges after security bills rammed through

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TOKYO — The approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plunged by 9.7 percentage points from June to 37.7 percent, the lowest since he returned to power in December 2012, as a majority of the public objected to the ruling camp ramming controversial security bills through the lower house, a Kyodo News poll showed July 18.

The disapproval rating rose to 51.6 percent from 43.0 percent last month, surpassing the approval rating.

In the telephone survey conducted July 17-18, 73.3 percent of respondents said they do not support the way the security bills were passed, while 21.4 percent expressed support.

The ruling coalition on July 16 pushed the bills through the House of Representatives despite strong objections by opposition parties. Many opposition lawmakers boycotted the vote in protest.

The bills would allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, or coming to the aid of the United States and other friendly nations under armed attack even if Japan itself is not attacked, representing a major shift in Japan’s post-World War II exclusively defense-oriented security policy.

As for explanation about the bills by Abe’s government, 82.9 percent said they do not think it was sufficient, compared with 13.1 percent who said it was enough. More than half of the respondents, or 56.6 percent, said they think the bills violate the war-renouncing Constitution, while 24.4 percent said they do not think so.

A total of 68.2 percent said they are opposed to the enactment of the security legislation in the current Diet session, which runs through late September, up 5.1 points from the previous survey, while 24.6 percent said they support the enactment.

Those backing the security legislation reached 27.5 percent, compared with 61.5 percent opposed to it.

Meanwhile, when asked about a costly construction plan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics main stadium, 93.7 percent said it should be reviewed, while 5.0 percent said it should be implemented as initially planned.

Abe announced July 17 that Japan will review the plan from scratch amid growing public criticism over its ballooning costs.

With regard to Abe’s upcoming statement to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, 50.8 percent said he should incorporate into his statement “remorse” and an “apology” to people in the rest of Asia, who suffered under Japanese “colonial rule and aggression,” while 32.2 percent opposed the idea.

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