Nearly 60 percent of voters oppose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to use nuclear energy to fuel economic growth, but 51 percent expect his policies to improve the economy, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.
Abe on June 5 announced the latest measures of the “third arrow” in his growth strategy, which include the use of nuclear power generation and resuming operations at now-idle reactors that are deemed safe.
But the nationwide telephone survey, conducted by The Asahi Shimbun on June 8-9, showed that many Japanese remain averse to the use of nuclear power more than two years after the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The survey received 1,781 valid responses, or 52 percent of those contacted, and did not include some parts of Fukushima Prefecture.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they are against the government’s use of nuclear plants for economic growth, compared with 27 percent in favor.
Fifty-eight percent also said they are opposed to restarting reactors, while 28 percent said they support a resumption of reactor operations.
Still, many Japanese have high expectations for Abe’s economic recovery efforts.
More than half, or 51 percent, said they expect Abe’s economic policies will help the economy grow, compared with 33 percent who doubt the effectiveness of his plan.
But only 36 percent believe Abe’s economic policies will lead to wage increases and expanded employment, while 45 percent do not expect improvements in these areas, according to the survey.
Moreover, 78 percent said they do not feel the economy has recovered since Abe became prime minister in December last year, compared with just 18 percent who said they feel the economy has improved.
The first two “arrows” of Abe’s economic policies known as "Abenomics" were eased monetary policies and increased government spending.
The support rate for the Abe Cabinet dropped from 65 percent in the previous survey in May, but remained relatively high at 59 percent, which puts the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in solid position ahead of the Upper House election in July. The nonsupport rate inched up to 20 percent from 18 percent.
If the Upper House election were held now, 45 percent of voters would pick Abe’s LDP in the proportional representation portion, according to the survey.
No other party received double-digit support in this category of the survey.
Seven percent picked the Democratic Party of Japan, 6 percent chose Your Party, 5 percent backed the Japan Restoration Party, and 4 percent said they would vote for the Japanese Communist Party.
Five percent picked ruling coalition partner New Komeito.
Fifty-one percent of all respondents said they would like to see the LDP-New Komeito coalition win a majority of Upper House seats after the July election, while 34 percent said they do not want this to happen.
Seventy-one percent said they hope to see a party large enough to challenge the LDP, compared with 21 percent who said otherwise.
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