Nearly 30 percent of voters clearly oppose having the current ruling party or the main opposition party running the government, but a regional group is gaining momentum with the public, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.
The opinion poll, released on Feb. 13, asked respondents to choose one of three choices concerning who should take the reins of government: the Democratic Party of Japan; the Liberal Democratic Party; or other parties.
Only 19 percent replied that they favor a continuation of a DPJ-led government, while 21 percent said they hope the LDP returns to power.
Twenty-nine percent said parties other than the DPJ or the LDP should take the reins of the government.
On the other hand, 54 percent of all respondents said they hope that Osaka Ishin no Kai, a regional party headed by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, wins enough seats in the next Lower House election to have an influence in the Diet. Of the voters who said they want parties other than the DPJ or the LDP in charge, 69 percent said they want Osaka Ishin no Kai to win seats in the Diet.
As the outspoken and reformist Osaka mayor climbs in popularity, the DPJ and LDP continue to struggle.
The support rate for the ruling party dropped to 17 percent in the latest survey from 19 percent in January, while the rate for the LDP slid to 12 percent from 18 percent.
According to the survey, 63 percent of voters do not support any party, compared with 55 percent in the previous survey in January.
The support rate for the Noda Cabinet was 27 percent, down from 29 percent in the previous survey in January, while nonsupport rate was 49 percent, up from 47 percent.
The Asahi Shimbun conducted the latest survey by telephone on Feb. 11 and 12, randomly choosing 3,014 eligible voters, except for those in parts of Fukushima Prefecture. Of them, 1,741 voters, or 58 percent, gave valid responses.
Twenty-nine percent of the respondents said they support the policy of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government to end operations of nuclear reactors after 40 years in principle but to allow an extension to 60 years if approval is given by the environment minister. More than half—52 percent—do not support the policy.
In addition, 66 percent said they support the idea that Japan should gradually decrease and eventually abolish nuclear reactors, while 23 percent said they are opposed to this idea.
Among those who support the eventual abolition of nuclear reactors, 26 percent said they back the operation period of 40 years with a possible extension to up to 60 years. But 58 percent said they do not endorse the idea.
Forty-one percent of those who do not support the eventual abolition of nuclear reactors back the operation period policy on reactors, compared with 47 percent who do not.
According to the survey, 40 percent of voters support the government’s plan to raise the tax rate to 8 percent in April 2014 and further to 10 percent in October 2015. That support was up 6 points from 34 percent in the previous survey.
Forty-six percent expressed opposition to the government’s tax plan, down from 57 percent.
The survey asked opponents of the tax hike to choose one of four reasons for their objections.
The largest group, at 59 percent, said cuts in government spending has not made progress, while 27 percent said the contents of social security reform remain unclear.
Only 6 percent cited opposition to the timing and the size of the rate increases, while 5 percent said they are opposed to consumption tax itself.
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