SURVEY: 76% don’t believe Fukushima situation ‘under control’; Abe support rate steady at 56%
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
About 76 percent of Japanese do not believe Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s contention that the radioactive water problem at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is “under control,” an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.
Only 11 percent agree with Abe’s assertion made in a speech in September before the International Olympic Committee to promote Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Summer Games, according to the survey conducted on Oct. 5-6.
Even among those who support the Abe Cabinet, only 18 percent believe Abe’s contaminated-water statement, compared with 71 percent who do not.
Disbelief was even greater in the Tohoku region, which was hit hard by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that caused the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Only 10 percent think Abe’s assessment is accurate, while 81 percent said the Fukushima situation is not under control.
Still, Abe continues to receive the backing of the public. The survey found his Cabinet had a support rating of 56 percent, down slightly from 57 percent in September.
Respondents were also asked about Abe’s recent decision to raise the consumption tax rate from 5 percent to 8 percent next April. Fifty-one percent support the decision, compared with 38 percent who do not.
But only 39 percent believe the higher taxes will lead to stability in social security programs, while 47 percent doubt the effectiveness of the tax plan.
And just 24 percent support plans to further increase the consumption tax rate to 10 percent in October 2015, compared with 63 percent who are opposed. Among female respondents, 72 percent are against the tax-doubling measure.
Among those who support the initial tax hike to 8 percent, 45 percent favor a further increase to 10 percent, and 42 percent oppose the move.
The Abe administration has also put together a package of economic measures totaling 5 trillion yen ($51 billion) to alleviate an expected decline in economic activity from the tax hike.
One measure is to eliminate one year ahead of schedule a special corporate tax to pay for rebuilding from the Tohoku natural disasters.
Only 27 percent of survey respondents support that measure, while 56 percent are opposed. Among respondents in the Tohoku region, 63 percent are against an early end to the special tax.
To encourage increases in jobs and wages, the Abe administration is considering lowering the corporate tax rate. Twenty-one percent of respondents believe the tax cut will have that effect, while 63 percent doubt the plan.
Seventy-seven percent of respondents are happy that Tokyo was chosen to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, compared with 16 percent who were disappointed at the IOC’s decision.
When asked how hosting the Games would affect rebuilding from the Tohoku natural disasters, only 37 percent said reconstruction efforts will be accelerated. Forty-six percent said rebuilding work will take a back seat to hosting the Olympics.
The national telephone survey by The Asahi Shimbun received valid responses from 1,897 individuals selected through a random dialing process.
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN