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Japan PM Kishida’s Support Hits New Lows In Three Major Polls

Respondents are not enamored with Kishida’s plans for a ¥40,000 tax rebate next year and handouts for low-income households.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Fumio Kishida, Japan’s prime minister</p></div>
Fumio Kishida, Japan’s prime minister

The support rate for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hit new lows in three major polls, putting further pressure on his leadership as he tries to push an extra budget through parliament to support his latest economic package.

Polls released Monday by three of Japan’s biggest newspapers — the Yomiuri, Asahi and Mainichi — showed Kishida’s support rate at 24%, 25% and 21%, respectively. The levels are all below the 30% mark seen as a danger zone for Japanese premiers and are likely to fuel speculation that Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party may consider making a change at the top. The LDP is due to hold a leadership election next September.

The surveys were conducted while Kishida was in San Francisco for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, where he held talks with leaders including US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Biden invited Kishida to a state visit early next year. Japanese prime ministers often see a rise in support after international events, which boosts their diplomatic profile. 

But the surveys showed respondents are not enamored with Kishida’s plans for a ¥40,000 ($267) tax rebate next year and handouts for low-income households to help cope with rising prices. That’s been dismissed by some poll respondents as a temporary attempt to curry favor, while others have expressed concern about the deeply indebted country’s fiscal situation. 

Kishida has dismissed calls for an early election this year so he can implement his economic plan, Kyodo News reported. With the support rates for opposition parties mired in single digits, the long-ruling LDP is almost certain to stay in power after the next election.

The prime minister has the right to call the vote whenever he wishes before the term for members of the lower house of parliament ends in 2025.

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