TOKYO >> A recent survey showed more than 60 percent of respondents wanted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to leave his post by the end of his current term as Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) president in September 2018.
The survey was conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun and the Waseda University Institute for Research in Contemporary Political and Economic Affairs between July 3, the day after the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, and Aug. 7, just after Abe reshuffled his Cabinet. The survey of political attitudes was conducted by mail.
When asked until when they wanted Abe to continue as prime minister, 41 percent of respondents said until Abe’s current term as LDP president expires in September 2018, and 23 percent replied they want Abe to step down immediately. The combined figure indicates more than 60 percent opposed Abe seeking a third term as LDP leader and prime minister.
Sixteen percent of respondents wanted Abe to serve until the next LDP presidential term ends in September 2021, while 14 percent said they want Abe to stay on as long as possible.
Fifty-six percent of respondents who were LDP supporters said they wanted Abe to remain prime minister for three terms or longer. However, the figure dropped to just 18 percent among respondents not affiliated with any political party.
When asked to assess the second Abe administration’s performance since its launch in December 2012 on a scale of 0 to 10, respondents assigned an average mark of 4.8. LDP supporters gave an average score of 6.1, with nonaffiliated voters assigning a score of 4.1. The policy areas in which respondents felt the Abe administration had performed well were topped by “diplomacy,” which was chosen by 35 percent of respondents. Multiple answers were allowed on this question.
The survey also asked respondents to rate past and current party leaders and politicians using “temperature” to indicate how fondly they view them, with 100 being “view warmly,” 0 being “view coldly,” and 50 being neutral. The highest average figure was given to former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (55.1), followed by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike (54.9) and LDP lawmaker Shinjiro Koizumi (54.2). Abe tied for fourth place with Shigeru Ishiba, former regional revitalization minister, with a score of 47.0.
When asked to use the same method to indicate their feelings toward the five political parties with 10 or more seats combined in the House of Representatives and House of Councillors, respondents gave the LDP a high score of 49.5 — slightly below the “neutral” threshold. Komeito (33.2) and Nippon Ishin no Kai (31.1) followed, while the Democratic Party (DP, 30.4) was the second lowest, and the Japanese Communist Party (JCP, 24.9) came last.
The survey also asked respondents to grade the five parties on their political stances, with 0 representing the most conservative score and 10 representing the most liberal. The JCP’s average figure was 5.0, followed by the DP (4.9), Nippon Ishin (4.8), LDP (4.2) and Komeito (4.1).
The survey was conducted by mailing questionnaires to 3,000 randomly selected voters in 250 locations nationwide on July 3. Sixty-five percent, or 1,963 people, offered valid responses among a total of 2,031 responses returned by Aug. 7.