Kishida’s Cabinet approval rating drops 4.1 points to 55.9%

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet approval rating stood at 55.9%, down 4.1 points from the previous survey in December, a Kyodo News survey showed on Sunday, as the Japan is grappling with recent outbreaks of COVID-19 infections caused by the highly transmissible omicron. variant.

The two-day phone survey to Sunday found the disapproval rate had risen by 2.5 points to 25.2% and also showed that 89.7% planned to refrain from eating and traveling to following the rapid spread of the omicron variant.

With rapidly rising infection numbers nationwide raising concerns about the strain on the medical system, the central government has now placed 16 prefectures, including Tokyo, under a near-state of emergency.

The poll showed 50.2% believe the implementation of the quasi-state of emergency came too late, while 40.4% said the timing was right.

The emergency allows prefectural governors to ask restaurants and bars to close early and stop or limit alcohol service. Several other regions have officially solicited or are preparing to solicit similar requests.

According to the survey, 76.5% said they feared being infected with the omicron variant.

The poll also showed that 47.9% want to take the third dose of the vaccine as soon as possible.

Kishida said the government aims to give third injections to the elderly at a faster rate and start the booster program for the rest in March, earlier than planned.

Many regions are grappling with what has become the country’s sixth wave of infections. Since Japan confirmed its first case of omicron on November 30, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased 100-fold in three weeks, rising to 54,576 cases on Saturday from 534 recorded on January 1.

Unlike his immediate predecessor, former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Kishida’s support rating had been on the rise since COVID-19 cases began to rise, according to several earlier surveys.

In a Jiji poll released on January 14, 51.7% of respondents said they supported his cabinet, down from 44.9% in December, which the news agency attributed to Kishida’s decision to explain its virus policy to the public as much as possible. .

Regarding two options the government has submitted to the Diet aimed at preventing Japan’s royal family from shrinking further, 75.3% in the Kyodo survey showed support for female members who marry commoners to retain their imperial status, while 54.4% supported a plan allowing male heirs of former branches to be adopted into the imperial family.

The law currently states that royal women leave the imperial family by marrying a commoner.

The survey, covering 639 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 1,739 mobile phone numbers, yielded responses from 534 and 525 people, respectively.

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