Support for Abe up after security law passed

TOKYO • Public support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has rebounded since his government rammed through unpopular security legislation, according to polls published yesterday, as he refocuses on the struggling economy.

In September, Parliament in the officially pacifist nation passed the contentious security Bills, opening the door for Japanese troops to engage in combat overseas for the first time since the end of World War II.

The legislation was met with strong public resistance and pounded the popularity of the conservative Mr Abe, who swept to power in late 2012 on a ticket to kick-start the long-laggard economy.

But yesterday, a weekend poll conducted by the leading Nikkei business daily and TV Tokyo found that support for Mr Abe had rebounded eight points from October to 49 per cent, a level last seen this summer as debate raged over the then proposed security legislation.

The survey, which polled 1,365 households at the weekend, came as Mr Abe turns his focus back to an economy that fell into recession in the third quarter.

A similarly sized weekend poll by the Kyodo News agency meanwhile said Mr Abe's approval rating rose 3.5 points to 48.3 per cent from a previous survey in October.

Recent summits with South Korea and China also helped boost Mr Abe's approval rating, as he moves to soothe long-standing diplomatic friction, Japanese media said.

Meanwhile, both polls found that about 80 per cent of respondents thought that Japan could be hit by violent attacks like those in Paris, France, earlier this month, which claimed the lives of 130 people in separate bombing and shooting incidents.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2015, with the headline 'Support for Abe up after security law passed'. Print Edition | Subscribe