Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet approval rating stands at 57.4 percent, according to a public opinion poll conducted jointly by the Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network over the weekend of March 18 and 19, down 1.4 points since the last time the poll was conducted over February 18 and 19. Nearly 31 percent of respondents (30.9 percent) disapproved of the Abe cabinet, up 0.8 points over the previous poll.
As for the parties in general, support for the Liberal Democratic Party increased 1.1 points since February’s poll to 38.0 percent, while the Democratic Party of Japan lost 2.4 points, dropping to 8.4 percent. Komeito is now at 4.5 percent approval, the Communist Party is at 3.8 percent, the Japan Restoration Party is at 3.6 percent, the Social Democratic Party is at 0.4 percent, the Liberal Party is at 1.1 percent, and the Party for Japanese Kokoro at 0.2 percent. The number of those with no party affiliation who also claim not to support any political party rose to 37.9 percent.
84.7 percent of respondents were unconvinced by the government’s explanation that no politicians were involved in the Moritomo Gakuen affair, wherein an Osaka private school was able to purchase state land at a price much lower than its appraised value. Skeptics of the government’s explanation greatly outnumber the 10.0 percent of respondents who claimed to be convinced by the government’s explanation. These widely-held doubts explain why the same percentage of respondents—84.7 percent—also think having Moritomo Gakuen president Yasunori Kagoike testify before a joint Diet session on March 23 is insufficient, and that those involved in the land deal must also be brought in to testify.
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