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(05/03/07) -

Abe’s Cabinet Gains Points in Japan

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – More people in Japan are content with the performance of their government, according to a poll by Mainichi. 43 per cent of respondents approve of prime minister Shinzo Abe’s appointed cabinet, up eight points since March.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – More people in Japan are content with the performance of their government, according to a poll by Mainichi. 43 per cent of respondents approve of prime minister Shinzo Abe’s appointed cabinet, up eight points since March.

In September 2006, Abe became the new leader of the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Japan’s 90th prime minister. Abe vowed to “make Japan into a country full of vitality, opportunities and kindness.”

An election to the upper chamber of Japan’s Diet—the House of Councillors—is scheduled for Jul. 22. In March, Abe said his team will not be changed before the ballot, and he said he would “go into the elections with the current cabinet.” Several cabinet members have been involved in scandals since taking office, including health minister Hakuo Yanagisawa, who publicly called women “birth-giving machines”.

On Mar. 18, Abe’s cabinet signed a statement in which everyone agreed with the prime minister’s view that there is no evidence to prove Japanese military officers directly forced women into sex slavery during World War II. On Apr. 27, Japan’s Supreme Court said that women were indeed forced into sex slavery and that Chinese labourers were exploited by members of the military or by the industry at the time. The Court also denied compensation for victims who had filed a lawsuit, citing post-war agreements.

Also on Apr. 27, Abe met with U.S. president George W. Bush at Camp David. Abe discussed bilateral relations, saying, “I explained to the president that as the mission that my administration I will strive to move Japan beyond the post-war regime. As part of this endeavour, I explained to the president that I launched on the eve of this trip a blue-ribbon panel for the purpose of reshaping the legal foundation for national security in a way that will befit the times, now that the security environment surrounding Japan is undergoing major change.”

Polling Data

Do you approve or disapprove of Shinzo Abe’s cabinet?

Apr. 2007

Mar. 2007

Jan. 2007

Approve

43%

35%

40%

Disapprove

33%

42%

36%

Source: Mainichi
Methodology: Interviews to 1,085 Japanese adults, conducted on Apr. 28 and Apr. 29, 2007. No margin of error was provided.