Poll: 64% favor U.S. pressure on North Korea

Sixty-four percent of respondents to a Yomiuri Shimbun national opinion poll said they favorably evaluate U.S. moves to increase military pressure on North Korea, which is advancing its nuclear and ballistic missile development. This far exceeded the 27 percent who said they did not approve of the United States’ actions.

The poll was conducted from Friday to Sunday.

A total of 93 percent of respondents said they felt threatened by Pyongyang’s actions, with 60 percent saying they felt threatened “significantly” and 33 percent saying “somewhat.” The percentage of respondents who felt “significantly” threatened rose by six percentage points from the previous survey conducted on March 18 and 19.

The approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet rose to 60 percent from 56 percent in the previous poll, while its disapproval rating fell to 29 percent from 33 percent.

Among just respondents who “felt threatened significantly by North Korea’s moves,” the approval rating for Abe’s Cabinet was 64 percent.

Fifty-eight percent said Japan should consider acquiring the “ability to strike enemy bases and other facilities before a missile attack is initiated by a foreign country against Japan,” while 35 percent disagreed. Abe expressed his support for the U.S. government’s determination never to allow chemical weapons to be spread or used following U.S. military action against Syrian government forces. Fifty-four percent favored Abe’s stance while 35 percent did not.

Also, 58 percent of respondents supported a bill aimed at stopping terrorism and organized crime in its initial stages, which would call for punishment to be handed down for serious organized crimes in the planning and preparation stages, while 25 percent opposed it.

With regard to the dubious sale of state-owned land to the Osaka-based school operator Moritomo Gakuen at a reduced cost of nearly ¥800 million from the appraised value, 82 percent said they were not convinced by the government’s explanation, three percentage points down from the previous poll. Sixty-three percent said they were not convinced by Abe’s claim that he and his wife Akie were not involved, down one percentage point.

As for approval ratings for political parties, 44 percent supported the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, followed by the Democratic Party at 6 percent. Komeito garnered 3 percent, as did the Japanese Communist Party.

46% back fish market relocation

Forty-six percent of respondents said they support the relocation of Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, to the Toyosu site in Koto Ward, Tokyo, exceeding the 32 percent who opposed the relocation.

Fifty-seven percent said they have high hopes for Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites first group), a regional party effectively led by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, four percentage points down from the previous poll.

The survey was conducted using a random-digit dialing method, in which a computer randomly generates telephone numbers. Among 935 households that had at least one eligible voter, 547 voters, or 59 percent responded. Among 1,281 mobile phone users who are 18 years old or over, 533 voters, or 42 percent, responded.

By The Yomiuri Shimbun