The public approval rating for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's Cabinet stands at 22 percent, the lowest since he took power last September, according to an Asahi Shimbun survey.
The figure represents a drop of 3 percentage points from the previous survey, taken July 7-8.
The latest telephone survey of eligible voters was conducted Aug. 4-5.
It found the disapproval rating for Noda's Cabinet was 58 percent, the same as before.
The dismal approval rating suggests that Noda cannot afford to make good on a promise to the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party to dissolve the Lower House and call a snap election in the near future.
The LDP has been demanding the snap election as a key condition for its cooperation in the passage of legislation in the Upper House to raise the consumption tax rate, Noda's pet project.
On Aug. 6, Sadakazu Tanigaki, president of the LDP, made clear that he expects Noda to stay true to his word.
If he does not, he said the LDP will submit a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet to the Lower House and a censure motion against Noda to the Upper House as early as Aug. 7.
Tanigaki decided to play hard ball after concluding that Noda has no immediate plans to dissolve the Lower House even if the LDP cooperates with passage of the bills.
History shows that an administration with an approval rating at around 20 percent or below, considered a "critical zone," will perform disastrously when voters are required to pass judgment.
Lower House elections under the single-seat constituency system have been held five times, with the first one in 1996.
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori struggled in a Lower House election in June 2000 with a pre-election support rate of 19 percent. Although Mori's LDP lost 38 seats, it managed to maintain a majority in the chamber with its coalition partners. Less than a year after the election, though, Mori was forced to resign.
Prime Minister Taro Aso also battled consistently dismal approval ratings due to a series of gaffes.
He put off dissolving the Lower House until August 2009, toward the end of the four-year term for lawmakers in the chamber.
But the LDP was ousted from power after the party suffered a crushing defeat to the Democratic Party of Japan.
On three choices proposed by the Noda administration over the percentage of nuclear power in the nation's overall energy strategy for 2030, the latest survey found that 43 percent of respondents chose the "zero percent" option, up from 42 percent in the July survey and the most common answer.
Thirty-one percent cited "15 percent," up from 29 percent, while 11 percent picked "20-25 percent," down from 15 percent.
Those who replied that they do not place "much" or "no" trust in the government's safeguard measures for nuclear power generation made up 79 percent of responses.
Among this group, 50 percent picked "zero percent" for nuclear power.
Among those who responded that they trust the government's nuclear safety measures, "15 percent" was the most common answer, which was cited by 43 percent.
The survey showed that respondents who have high expectations for renewable energy sources support cutting Japan's reliance on nuclear power.
Twenty-nine percent said they have high expectations for renewable energy, while 54 percent replied they do "to some extent."
Sixty percent said they "pay attention" to a debate concerning nuclear power plants and the nation's energy policy.
Thirty-six percent replied "not so much."
According to the survey, only 10 percent thought "sufficient" national debate has been taking place over those issues, while 81 percent said otherwise.
The latest survey, based on a sample of phone numbers generated randomly by a computer, received 1,540 valid responses, or 55 percent of the total contacted nationwide.
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