Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is struggling to find his footing with voters just two days after he was voted into office and launched his new government, multiple polls by local media showed on Tuesday.
On the lower end, the Asahi Shimbun put Kishida’s approval rating at 45 percent, while the Mainichi put it at 49 percent. The more conservative-leaning Yomiuri said that 56 percent supported his government, while the Nikkei had 59 percent.
In all of the polls, support for Kishida’s new government was lower than the previous one, when former Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga came to power last year, with the Asahi reporting a 20 percentage-point difference.
“I’m aware of the polling results, but also believe that there is quite a gap depending on the company that conducted the survey,” Kishida told reporters yesterday morning.
“Regardless, I will reflect on my actions based on these results — including the low approval ratings — and continue to work hard toward the upcoming election,” he added.
Although Kishida’s ratings are low for a fresh administration, they are still higher than the final ratings for Suga, who became deeply unpopular during his tenure as he struggled to contain a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, exacerbated by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.
Kishida said that he would dissolve the Japanese National Diet’s House of Representatives on Thursday next week, and a general election is scheduled for Oct. 31, with the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery set to become key issues.
For single-seat districts, the Mainichi poll said that 41 percent of respondents would vote for the ruling coalition, while 34 percent would vote for the opposition and 24 percent were undecided.
The Yomiuri put support for Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party at 43 percent, up 7 percentage points from the previous poll.
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