More than 6 out of 10 members of the Japanese public support the government’s decision to take South Korea off the “white list” of countries receiving preferential trade treatment on goods subject to national security export controls.
A nationwide opinion poll conducted on August 3 and 4 by The Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network (FNN) found that 67.6% of respondents were in favor of treating South Korea as a normal country by removing it from the preferential list.
The figure far exceeds the 19.4% who do not support the government’s decision, according to the poll.
The Japanese government has explained that the decision is aimed at ensuring that the export of sensitive items complies with national security obligations. (RELATED ARTICLE: South Korean Firms Violate International Controls on Shipping Materials for WMDs to Iran and Syria)
South Korea, for its part, has reacted bitterly, calling the decision “unfair.” Following the Japanese government’s August 2 decision, anti-Japanese protests have been held every day in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
Asked if they felt anxious about the future of Japan-South Korea relations, 58.5% of respondents said “Yes,” while 36% said they were not anxious.
International Security Cooperation
In reply to a question whether Japan should take part in the United States-proposed international coalition to ensure security in the Strait of Hormuz — the world’s single most important oil passageway — in the Middle East, nearly half of those polled (49.7%) said Japan should participate, compared to 28.6% who said it should not.
Upper House Election Results
Respondents were also asked about their views on the outcome of the July 21 election for the House of Councillors, the Upper House of Japan’s legislature.
The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and its partner Komeito secured a majority of seats in the upper chamber, but the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan increased its number of seats, and two fledgling parties won seats.
In response, 53.7% said they thought the election results were good for Japan, while 32.6% said they did not think so.
Support for Constitutional Revision Debate
Although the election results fell short of giving the forces in favor of revising Japan’s Constitution the two-thirds majority necessary to initiate constitutional change, 50.9% of those polled said they were “agreeable” to that result, compared to 33.4% who said they were “not agreeable.”
Respondents were also asked whether both ruling and opposition parties in the Diet should revitalize debate on revising the Constitution — 60.9% said they would like to see a more vigorous debate. The figure in favor was more than double the 29.4% who said they did not think debate was needed. (RELATED ARTICLE: Decisive Election Victory Firms Up Abe’s Resolve to Make Constitutional Reform Happen)
Support for Abe Government
The poll found support for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was at 46.6%, down 5.1 points from the July 14-15 Sankei-FNN poll. The disapproval rating for the Abe Cabinet in the latest poll stood at 38.1%, up 4.8 points from the previous survey.
Two New Heavily Disabled Upper House Members
Among those polled, 51.7% said they had hopes for the participation of two newly-elected Diet members with heavy disabilities, Eiko Kimura and Yasuhiko Funago, who were both elected to the Upper House on the ticket of the new political party, Reiwa Shinsengumi. Another 38.2% of respondents said they had little or no expectations.
New Party to Protect People from NHK
Another new party — the Party to Protect People from NHK (the national broadcast entity) — also sent a member to the Upper House for the first time. Its platform of “crushing” NHK and forcing it to scramble its signal so only those who pay can see the broadcast found support among 51.1% of those polled, while 37% said they didn’t support the idea.
Currently, NHK forces everyone to pay a viewer’s fee, whether or not they watch its programs. The proposed change would eliminate the criminal intimidation of those who choose not to view and therefore don’t want to pay for NHK programs.
(Click here to read the article in its original Japanese.)
Author: The Sankei Shimbun