Abe's support rate takes a hit from security Bills

TOKYO • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's support rate fell nearly 10 points to 37.7 per cent in a poll released yesterday, the first since his ruling bloc pushed forward legislation marking a dramatic shift in the nation's post-war defence policy.

The approval of the security Bills by the Lower House of Parliament sparked large protests from voters, who worried that the changes violate the pacifist Constitution and could entangle Japan in a United States-led war.

The legislation will now be deliberated in the Upper House.

The survey by Kyodo news agency, conducted last Friday and yesterday, showed 51.6 per cent disapproved of Mr Abe's government.

The fall in support was within the range analysts had predicted, but it was the first time Mr Abe's disapproval rating had topped 50 per cent since he took office in December 2012 with promises to bolster Japan's defences and reboot the stale economy.

The Bills would allow Japan to exercise its right of collective self-defence, or to defend a friendly country under attack.

Mr Abe says the legislation, which would also expand the scope for Japan's military to provide logistical support to friendly countries and participate in peacekeeping operations, is vital to meet new challenges, such as from an assertive China.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 19, 2015, with the headline 'Abe's support rate takes a hit from security Bills'. Print Edition | Subscribe