Approval rate for Abe's Cabinet down to 56% from 68%: Kyodo poll

The approval rate for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet has fallen to 56.2 percent from 68.0 percent in June, a Kyodo News poll showed Tuesday, suggesting low expectations for the premier's economic policies.

It is the first time since Abe took office in December that the support rate has fallen below 60 percent. The survey, conducted Monday and Tuesday after Abe's Liberal Democratic Party won the upper house election on Sunday, found 31.7 percent of respondents disapproved of the Cabinet, almost doubled the 16.3 percent in June.

Among those expressing disapproval, 29.6 percent -- up from 20.6 percent -- said the prime minister's economic policies dubbed "Abenomics" do not offer much hope. That apparently reflected concerns about the slow increase in wages despite rising prices due to the weakening yen.

The telephone opinion poll of about 1,000 voters nationwide found 39.8 percent welcomed the LDP's sweeping victory in the House of Councillors election, compared with 17.8 percent against it and 42.0 percent with either mixed, ambivalent or no opinion.

Given the poor showing by opposition parties in the election, 68.8 percent saw the need for realignment among opposition parties against 22.7 percent who did not see the need.

As the LDP and opposition parties supportive of revising Japan's pacifist Constitution fell short of winning a two-thirds majority in the chamber, one of the conditions for initiating the revision process, 30.6 percent said the outcome was good, 16.1 percent said it was not good, and 51.7 percent had no opinion.

Regarding the LDP's intention to push to restart idled nuclear power reactors once they are confirmed safe, 32.5 percent were in favor and 58.3 percent disapprove.

On the government's plan to raise the consumption tax in April, 22.6 percent back it, 35.0 percent said the increase should be delayed, and 40.5 percent favor the rate staying unchanged at 5 percent.