Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Cabinet are being buffeted by three controversial issues: the Unification Church, the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the soaring prices of goods, according to a recent Yomiuri Shimbun public opinion poll.
When asked whether it was appropriate to hold a state funeral for Abe, 54% of respondents said "no," while only 41% said "yes." Among 18 to 39-year-olds, 60% of respondents approved of the funeral, while 60% of two other groups -- ages 40-59 and ages 60 and older -- disapproved.
Prior to the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, public opinion was divided over Japan's hosting of the event. However, opinion changed following the Games, with 64% of people giving the hosting a thumbs-up in a post-Games survey.
However, the recent survey results suggest Kishida failed to win public approval for the state funeral, despite repeatedly explaining its significance such as by drawing attention to Abe's achievements as prime minister and the importance of so-called funeral diplomacy.
Among those who disapproved of the event, 65% also disapproved of the Kishida Cabinet.
When asked whether they thought Kishida was exercising leadership on the issue of political ties with the Unification Church -- formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification -- 80% of respondents replied in the negative. Of these, 53% disapproved of the Cabinet.
Fifty-nine percent said relations between Abe and the religious group should be investigated, while 57% of these took a dim view of the Kishida administration.
The Liberal Democratic Party's approval rating remained unchanged from the previous poll, even though LDP members have closer ties with the church than members of other parties. The results of the latest poll thus seem to indicate dissatisfaction with Kishida's handling of the issue.
Meanwhile, rapidly rising prices for everyday goods are hitting the Cabinet's approval rating. Among 73% of respondents who disapproved of the government's responses to price hikes, 52% disapproved of the Cabinet, while 40% supported it.
On the same question in an earlier Yomiuri survey conducted Aug. 5-7, 71% disapproved of the government's response to high prices. Of such respondents, 41% did not favor the Cabinet, while 50% approved of it.
These survey outcomes illustrate that public dissatisfaction over the high prices of goods is linked to growing dissatisfaction with the Kishida administration.
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