Few in Japan happy with ¥100,000 handout plan, poll shows

Only one in five Japanese people are satisfied with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s plan to give hand out ¥100,000 ($880) in cash and vouchers for each child age 18 or under as part of stimulus measures to shore up the coronavirus-hit economy, according to a Kyodo News survey conducted through Thursday.

Asked what they think of the move, 19.3% of respondents in the two-day nationwide telephone survey said it was “appropriate,” while 24.0% called for across-the-board handouts.

Another 34.7% said the annual income limit to be eligible for the ¥100,000 — below ¥9.6 million by a household’s primary breadwinner — should be lower, while 19.8% said there was no need for any handouts at all.

The survey results suggest that the stimulus measures, set to be finalized next week, may not significantly boost Kishida’s popularity.

Meanwhile, the approval rating for his Cabinet, formed on Oct. 4 and relaunched on Wednesday, stood at 60.5%, up 2.4 points from the previous survey conducted immediately following the ruling coalition’s victory in the Oct. 31 general election. The disapproval rating stood at 23.0%, down 3.8 points.

Regarding Kishida’s plan to restart the government’s Go To Travel program, meant to subsidize travel spending to help the domestic tourism industry but suspended amid concerns of spreading infections, 51.1% approved, while 45.1% disapproved.

Kishida took office as prime minister after his predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, stepped down amid mounting criticism over his pandemic response.

With infections having declined and nearly 75% of Japan’s population fully vaccinated, 58.3% said they think the government is doing a good job dealing with the coronavirus, compared with 38.1% who thought it was doing poorly.

An overwhelming majority, more than 80%, said they were “very” or “somewhat” worried about a sixth wave of infections in the future.

Asked which political party they support, 42.7% of respondents named Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party, while 7.4% went with its coalition partner Komeito.

Among the opposition, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party), which is riding high after nearly quadrupling its seats in the powerful House of Representatives in the general election, came away with 13.0%, followed by the larger Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, which got 10.7%.

The Japanese Communist Party was chosen by 3.9%, while the anti-establishment Reiwa Shinsengumi got 2.9% and the Democratic Party for the People garnered 2.7%. The share of respondents who said they do not support any party was 13.6%.

Kyodo News called 621 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 1,915 mobile phone users, with 520 responding from each group.

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