TOKYO (REUTERS) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s support edged down less than a month before a parliamentary election, with more than half of voters critical of how his government is handling rising prices, according to a survey published on Thursday (June 16).
Mr Kishida took office last September and will be leading his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) through an election for the Upper House of Parliament on July 10.
Support has been consistently high, with voters largely approving of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But support edged down 2.1 points from the previous month’s survey to 48.1 per cent, slipping below 50 per cent for the first time in four months, according to the survey conducted earlier this week by Jiji News Agency.
More than half of the respondents, at 54.1 per cent, said they were critical of his government’s handling of a wave of price rises driven by the Russian invasion and the fall of the Japanese yen to a 24-year-low, feeling that not enough has been done.
The results echo a survey by Kyodo News Agency earlier this week that found 64.1 per cent of respondents did not support Mr Kishida’s handling of price hikes, while his support slipped 4.6 points to 56.9 per cent.
Although Japan’s economy is expected to grow 4.1 per cent this quarter as the pandemic fades, a slide in the yen is threatening to hurt consumer sentiment as higher fuel and food costs inflict pain on households.
But the LDP is still widely expected to win the election, due largely to disarray among opposition parties.