The approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet fell 1.2 percentage points from August to 38.5 percent this month, hitting its lowest level since he took office in December 2012, a Jiji poll showed Friday.
The approval rating for the Abe Cabinet slipped below 40 percent for the first time in August.
The disapproval rating for the Cabinet edged up 0.4 point to 41.3 percent, according to the survey of 2,000 adults across the country in the four days through Monday. Of the total, 64.2 percent gave valid responses.
While Abe won another three-year term as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s president on Tuesday, his administration continues to face a difficult political situation.
The popularity decline is believed to reflect concerns over national security bills under deliberation at the Diet and tensions between the national and Okinawa prefectural governments over the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma air base within the southwestern prefecture.
Asked about the best time for the next House of Representatives election, 36.2 percent of the respondents said there was no need to call a snap election until the end of the current term. The next most frequent response, backed by 24.7 percent, was next summer, when a House of Councilors election will be held, while 14.6 percent favored a general election as soon as possible.
About reasons for supporting the Abe Cabinet, 16.3 percent said there was no one better than Abe to be prime minister at the moment, 12.0 percent said Abe had good leadership skills, and 9.2 percent said he was trustworthy.
Among respondents who did not approve of the Cabinet, 20.4 percent said they did not support its policies, 19.6 percent said they could expect nothing from the Cabinet, and 17.8 percent said they could not trust Abe.
The support rate for the LDP was down 0.8 points to 23.3 percent, while 63.5 percent said they did not support any particular party, up 2.5 points.
The largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan drew a support rating of 4.9 percent, down 0.7 points, followed by Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, with 3.4 percent. Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party) polled 1.9 percent, and the Japanese Communist Party 1.2 percent.