Forty-two percent of respondents to an Asahi Shimbun survey were opposed to the state secrets protection bill now before the Diet, compared with 30 percent who supported it.
The Nov. 9-10 survey sought to gauge public sentiment on a number of issues.
The Asahi Shimbun asked about the contentious secrecy bill after explaining that the aim of the proposed legislation was to prevent the leaking of diplomatic and national security secrets by strengthening penalties against those who would leak them and those who would illegally obtain them.
Those surveyed were also informed that, in the opinion of some experts, information that might prove inconvenient to the government could be concealed and the people’s right to know could be infringed upon.
The respondents were also asked to choose from four alternatives about whether they fear that the bill, if enacted, will expand the scope of confidential information the government keeps secret.
A combined 68 percent said they are concerned “greatly” or “to some extent,” while a combined 27 percent said they are not worried “so much” or “at all.”
The ruling coalition plans to obtain Diet passage of the bill before the current session ends Dec. 6.
Sixty-four percent of respondents said it is not necessary to pass the bill during the current Diet session, compared with 20 percent who said it is necessary.
With regard to a question over Japan’s nuclear future, the majority of those asked supported former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s call for the government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to steer the nation away from its dependency on nuclear energy.
Sixty percent of respondents said they support Koizumi’s stance, compared with 25 percent who said they do not.
The government is also considering earmarking taxpayer money to clean up communities contaminated by radioactive fallout from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
At present, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant operator, is required to shoulder all decontamination costs.
Forty-eight percent of respondents said they support the plan, while 40 percent said they do not.
With regard to negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement, a majority expressed support for the plan.
Under the TPP negotiations, the government is considering removing tariffs on some of the 586 agricultural items spanning five tightly protected sectors, including rice and dairy products.
Forty-six percent of respondents said they support the removal of the tariffs, compared with 28 percent who were opposed.
Fifty-two percent said they support Japan’s participation in the TPP, up from the 48 percent in an Asahi Shimbun survey in September, while 25 percent said they are opposed, almost unchanged from 26 percent in the previous survey.
The survey also asked about recent revelations that menus used at restaurants in hotels and department stores mislabeled the ingredients used in the dishes.
Hotel and department store operators said they had no intention of making their dishes appear to be of higher quality than they actually were. But 87 percent of respondents said they remain unconvinced, compared with 8 percent who accepted the explanations.
Respondents were also asked about their support for the Abe Cabinet. Fifty-three percent voiced support, down from 56 percent in an October survey by The Asahi Shimbun. Those who said they did not support the Cabinet remained virtually unchanged at 25 percent, a one point increase from the earlier poll.
The Asahi Shimbun contacted 3,416 voters at random nationwide by telephone and received 1,751 valid responses, or 51 percent.
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