Japanese PM's Cabinet approval rating drops to 34 percent amid 2020 Tokyo Olympics: survey

Despite the fact that the Tokyo Olympics are in full swing, the approval rating of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Cabinet sunk to 34 percent, according to a new Nikkei/TV Tokyo survey.

The survey, which polled 998 Japanese adults ages 18 and older on Friday and Saturday, showed Suga’s Cabinet approval rating decreased 9 percentage points from June, making his approval rating the lowest since last September when he took office, according to the Tokyo-based news outlet. 

Nikkei reported that it has been a year since Japanese residents gave their government an approval rating of less than 40 percent. Under the government of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, residents gave the cabinet a 38 percent approval rating in June 2020.

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The survey comes nearly four days after the Olympics started on Friday in Japan, which has been plagued with a handful of athletes and staff members testing positive for COVID-19 upon arrival into Tokyo. The city announced its fourth state of emergency earlier this month and is struggling amid a relatively low vaccination rate.

About 24 percent of Japan is fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and the country, including Tokyo, has seen a steady increase of new COVID-19 cases over the course of July.

About 65 percent of survey respondents believe the country’s vaccinations “are not going smoothly,” and only 29 percent of those polled say vaccinations "are going smoothly.”

The top reason that respondents polled the Cabinet negatively was “lack of leadership,” at 53 percent. About 35 percent also cited "poor management of the government and party,” according to Nikkei.

Thirty-six percent of respondents — the largest share among those who approved of the Cabinet — cited "the Liberal Democratic Party plays a central role” as the reason for their positive rating. The Liberal Democratic Party is Suga's political party.

The Nikkei/TV Tokyo survey used random digital dialing in its survey, with a response rate of 47.1 percent.