Poll: Disapproval of Suga cabinet tops approval

Disapproval of the cabinet led by Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has surpassed approval in the latest NHK opinion poll.

NHK carried out the survey over the weekend by calling randomly picked phone numbers of people aged 18 and older. A total 1,278 people, or 59 percent of those contacted, responded.

The approval rating of Suga's cabinet stood at 40 percent, down two points from last month. Disapproval was 41 percent, up five points.

That is the first such reversal for Suga since he took office last September.

Of those who said they support the cabinet, 39 percent said it is better than other alternatives, 23 percent said they trust Suga and 21 percent said it is the cabinet of the party they support.

Of those who do not support the cabinet, 40 percent said it has not been getting things done, 33 percent do not expect its policies to achieve their goals, and 11 percent said they cannot trust Suga.

Asked if they are worried about themselves or their families getting infected with the coronavirus, 45 percent of respondents said they are very worried, 42 percent said they are worried to some extent, 9 percent said they are not worried much and 2 percent said they are not worried at all.

Asked about the government's response to the outbreak, 3 percent said it is doing a very good job, 35 percent said it is doing well in some areas of its response, 41 percent said it is not doing very well and 17 percent said it is doing badly.

On the timing of the government's declaration of a state of emergency for Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures, 12 percent said the timing was appropriate, 79 percent said it came too late and 3 percent said the declaration should not have been issued.

Asked about the areas covered by the declaration, 12 percent agreed with the government's decision to target Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures, 47 percent said it should cover other areas, 33 percent said it should be issued nationwide and 3 percent said the declaration is unnecessary.

Asked whether they think the state of emergency can be lifted by February 7, 6 percent of respondents said yes, 88 percent said no and 7 percent were unsure or did not answer.

The government is preparing to start administering vaccines by late February.

Of those who responded to the survey, 50 percent said they want to get vaccinated, 38 percent said they do not want to and 13 percent were unsure or declined to answer.

The government aims to revise the coronavirus response legislation that combines financial support for businesses with penalties for violations.

Of the respondents, 48 percent agreed with spelling out penalties, 33 percent were against it and 18 percent were unsure or declined to answer.