Support for Japan's Suga falls following travel campaign reversal
Support for Suga falls amid travel measures
Published: Nov 30, 2020 07:03 PM
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's approval ratings fell 5 percentage points to 58 percent, with many unhappy with his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll taken over the weekend by the daily Nikkei newspaper.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga wearing a mask announced Thursday that Japan is on maximum alert as the nation sees record numbers of new coronavirus cases. Japan reported more than 2,000 new cases, the highest yet, on Wednesday. Photo:

The dip in ratings follows criticism over his hesitation to suspend a domestic travel campaign as new coronavirus infections rise, and potentially threatens the chances of his premiership extending beyond autumn 2021, when his current term ends.

Suga's approval ratings were at 63 percent in the previous poll conducted in October. 

Respondents who disapproved of the government's coronavirus countermeasures rose 13 percentage points to 48 percent, topping the 44 percent who thought the government was doing well, according to the same poll. In the survey of 993 people, 61 percent agreed with the government's decision to partially halt the domestic "Go To" travel campaign, while 25 percent said the government needed to do more.

Although Japan has been spared the high incidence of the disease seen in Europe and the US, infection rates are rising as the cold season approaches, with the nation reaching record numbers of daily cases in recent weeks. New daily infections surged to an all-time high of 2,684 people on Saturday, according to public broadcaster NHK. The number of deaths stands at over 2,100.

The government has been attempting to keep the coronavirus under control while boosting Japan's hard-hit economy with a national travel campaign that subsidizes tourism.