Suga’s Cabinet Approval Rating at Record Lows in Polls

The public approval rating of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s cabinet fell to record lows in two polls as his handling of the pandemic drew criticism.

The rating dropped 8.1 points from last month to 35.9%, while the disapproval rate reached 49.8%, the highest since Suga took office in September, according to a Kyodo survey conducted on Saturday and Sunday. A separate survey by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper on Saturday saw the approval rating declining 4 points to 30%, while the disapproval rate rose 7 points to 62%.

The surveys were carried out days after Japan’s economy minister and Covid-19 czar Yasutoshi Nishimura retracted his controversial comments suggesting the government would ask banks to restrict loans to restaurants and other establishments that disobeyed an alcohol ban during the latest state of emergency.

Roughly three quarters of the respondents in the Mainichi survey said the government’s handling of that matter is problematic. In Tokyo, where the Olympic games will begin this week, there were 1,008 virus infections reported on Sunday, after more than 1,400 new cases on Saturday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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