The Weekly Observer: June 21-25

Condensed Ver.

I. News of the Week


Useful COVID-19 Resources (most are updated daily):

1. The Situation

  • Health minister Norihisa Tamura said Friday that the government will consider another state of emergency if there is another spike in cases. Tokyo recorded 562 new cases on Friday, the third consecutive day numbers increased by more than 100 from the same day the previous week.

  • Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Friday that there have been 37 confirmed cases of the “delta plus” variant, or a new variant of the “delta” (Indian) strain. The government plans to continue evaluating and analyzing data on the new variant to determine its transmissibility and resistance to vaccines.

  • A group of experts submitted on Wednesday a report to the health ministry’s advisory board, indicating that the “delta” strain (Indian) is 1.95 times more transmissible than the traditional strain. 

  • Kyoto University professor Hiroshi Nishiura and others also analyze in the report that this strain will account for more than half of total cases by July 12 and 68.9 percent around July 23, or when the Olympic Games are scheduled to begin. 

  • A simulation conducted by Supercomputer Fugaku shows that the probability of contracting COVID-19 while talking to an infected person without a mask on for 15-minutes from 1.5 meters away was 5 percent for the “alpha” strain (U.K.), and 10 percent for the “delta” strain

  • In addition, while it took about 35 minutes for the probability of contracting COVID-19 from a person two meters away and infected with the “alpha” strain to reach 10 percent, it took just 20 minutes for the “delta” strain.

  • Documents from the same advisory board meeting show that overall case tallies nationwide are improving. Compared to two weeks ago, last week’s numbers fared better on average (0.85 times) and in Okinawa (0.65), which is the only prefecture still under a state of emergency

  • On the other hand, Tokyo’s daily case tally rose 1.08 times compared to two weeks ago. Chiba’s also increased 1.10 times. In terms of new cases per 100,000 people, Tokyo was at 20.41 people, greater than the “Stage 3” standard of 15 people. Okinawa remained in “Stage 4,” the highest cautionary level.

2. Government Steps Up Vaccinations 

  • Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato said Thursday that the government reached its goal of administering one million vaccine shots a day three times this month. He added that, as of Wednesday, 51 percent of elderly citizens have been vaccinated at least once.

  • The government plans to expedite vaccinations further by raising the daily cap at the SDF-operated mass vaccination sites in Tokyo and Osaka

  • Starting next Monday, the Tokyo site will accept 300 more reservations for a total of 10,300, while the Osaka site will accept 75 for a total of 5,075 reservations.

  • Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Friday that the SDF-operated sites will only allow individuals with reservations to get vaccinated. This is in response to an increase in cases where people wait overnight for a chance to get vaccinated with leftover vaccines. 

  • The health ministry said Tuesday that it will consider whether the AstraZeneca vaccines can be used to vaccinate citizens over the age of 60 on June 30. The ministry approved the vaccine in May but decided against using it due to reports that it caused blood clots in rare cases. 

  • Vaccine czar Taro Kono said Tuesday at a National Governors Association meeting that the government plans to speed up vaccinations by reaching out actively to younger generations who may feel indifferent to getting vaccinated compared to older generations. 

  • The education ministry plans to request all university students to get vaccinated before the fall semester in order to conduct in-person classes. 

  • Kono said Monday on a TV program that he believes the government will complete vaccinating all willing citizens by the October/November goal set by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

  • Kono added that the government expects around 20,000 workplace vaccinations per day in addition to the million shots being administered daily to health care staff and elderly citizens. 

3. New Problems Arise Regarding Vaccinations

  • Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato said Thursday that the health ministry will evaluate the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s report that rare cases of heart inflammation were found in adolescents and young adults after vaccination. 

  • Vaccine czar Kono announced Wednesday that the government will no longer accept applications to set up workplace vaccination sites starting close of business on Friday due to an expected shortage in the supply of Moderna vaccines.

  • Kono said that Japan will reach 1.4 million shots per day including workplace vaccinations, which will exceed the available supply of vaccines. He hopes that all willing residents can get vaccinated by October-November by taking advantage of available Pfizer vaccines at local vaccination sites.  

  • The chairman of the National Governors Association asked Kono on Tuesday to indicate a schedule for the transport of vaccines. He said some governors were concerned that local sites would fall into a state of confusion as the distribution of Pfizer vaccines decreases significantly next month. 

  • Education Minister Koichi Hagiuda said Tuesday that the ministry does not recommend mass vaccinations at schools for students above the age of twelve at this point in time. He cited the lack of opportunity so far to explain the situation to parents and the possibility of unvaccinated students getting bullied

  • Kono revised an earlier statement in which he said he hoped children between 12-15 years of age complete vaccination over the summer break. Multiple municipalities reportedly called to inform the government this would be difficult. 

Foreign & Defense Policy

4. Japan-U.S. Developments 

  • Defense Minister Kishi announced Tuesday that the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) and U.S. Army will hold one of the largest-ever training exercises starting Thursday. 

  • Exercise Orient Shield will be held across the country between June 24-July 11. Around 3,000 personnel will participate this year, following the March defense ministers’ meeting in which the ministers agreed to bolster readiness through advanced exercises. The two countries look to bolster deterrence and response capabilities through the exercise.

  • Kyodo reported on Saturday that the government is arranging to cancel plans to install anti-ship missiles, one of the two U.S.-made long-range cruise missiles it planned to deploy with the JASDF’s main fighter F-15s

  • Introducing these missiles with a range of about 900 kilometers is viewed as one of the pillars of strengthening defense of the southwestern islands. 

  • However, Japan is being forced to cut costs to meet the U.S.’s ¥240 billion demand to modify the F-15s for compatibility with long-range missiles. It will also consider reducing the number of aircraft to modify from seventy.

5. Foreign Policy Developments

  • Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Friday that, starting July 1, Japan will provide Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia with one million AstraZeneca vaccines each. Taiwan and Vietnam will also receive an additional one million doses

  • Motegi also said that, starting mid-July, Japan will provide countries in Southeast Asia, Southwestern Asia and the Pacific Islands a total of 11 million doses through the COVAX facility.

  • On Wednesday night, Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Tamura participated remotely in the G20 labor and employment ministers’ meeting being held in Italy. The ministerial declaration includes commitments such as promoting flexible work styles to realize a fair work environment for women and improve work-life balance. 

  • Japan joined forty-three other countries on Tuesday in announcing a joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council regarding the human rights situation in Xinjiang. The statement voices concern about the treatment of Uyghurs there and urges China to allow immediate and unfettered access for independent observers, including the High Commissioner. 

  • The foreign ministry announced Tuesday that Senior Deputy Minister Takeo Mori will replace Takeo Akiba as vice foreign minister

  • The government plans to appoint the outgoing Akiba to replace Shigeru Kitamura as the new national security secretariat (NSS) secretary-general. This is likely to give the foreign ministry more say in diplomacy and security issues. 

  • Takehiro Funakoshi, the director-general of the foreign ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, met with Lee Sang-ryeol, director general for the South Korean foreign ministry’s Asia and Pacific affairs, in Seoul on Monday. 

  • While the two agreed on the importance of trilateral cooperation with the U.S. on North Korea policy and the need to improve bilateral relations, the dispute over historical issues reached an impasse, as South Korea maintained its previous position demanding Japan show sincerity

  • Foreign Minister Motegi is arranging to visit four Central American and Caribbean countries—Guatemala, Cuba, Panama and Jamaica—next month to discuss a range of issues from economic cooperation to working together to achieve a free and world order based on the rule of law. This comes as China strengthens its influence in the region. 

  • Motegi will also visit Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania after next week’s G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Italy. Japan aims to bolster cooperation with the Baltic states following Lithuania’s recent withdrawal from China’s “17+1” cooperation forum with central and eastern Europe. 

6. Defense-Related Developments

  • On Wednesday, Defense Minister Kishi spoke with General Chansamone Chanyalath, deputy prime minister and minister of national defense of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The two discussed topics such as the importance of the rule of law to Chinese maritime assertiveness to Myanmar. 

  • On Tuesday, Kishi spoke with Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, federal minister of defense of Germany. The two reaffirmed opposition to unilateral attempts to change the status quo, as well as concerns over China’s coast guard law

  • The two also agreed to continue coordinating to conduct joint exercises, and discussed the possibility of a German frigate joining monitoring and surveillance activities against illicit ship-to-ship transfers by North Korea-related vessels.

  • Asahi reported last Wednesday that the defense ministry’s draft white paper (to be finalized in July) focused on the rise of China. The draft notes China’s military activities are a strong concern for Japan, the region and the world.

  • It also mentions for the first time that stability in the Taiwan region is important for Japan’s national security.

Domestic Politics

7. Political Developments 

  • The LDP and CDP agreed on Wednesday to hold an out-of-session examination (heikaichū shinsa) next month to discuss the country’s coronavirus response. The welfare and labor committee and steering committee in both Houses will hold sessions on July 7-8 and July 14-15, respectively. 

  • The LDP rejected the opposition’s demand to hold a separate examination over the “Akagi file,” a key document related to the finance ministry’s falsification of paperwork over the dubious sale of state-owned land to Moritomo Gakuen, a private educational institution.

  • LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Hiroshi Moriyama said that the matter would be explained to the finance affairs committee in both Houses on Thursday. He maintains that there is no need to hold an examination over the issue.

  • An expert study group of the ministry of health, labor and welfare on Tuesday presented a draft revising the “karoshi line,” or the line at which the government certifies a worker’s death is a result of overwork, for the first time in twenty years.

  • While the current standard—80 hours of overwork a month in the two to six months prior to the onset of health issues or 100 hours a month prior—will remain in place, under the revised rule, the government will certify a case as an industrial accident (rosai) if an employee works overtime close to the current line and works irregular hours.

  • The Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced Tuesday night that Governor Yuriko Koike will be taking leave from official duties this week to recover from excessive fatigue. 

  • Last Wednesday, ex-trade minister and LDP lawmaker Isshu Sugawara was issued a ¥400,000 fine and three-year suspension of civil rights by the Tokyo Summary Court for violating the Public Offices Election Act. Sugawara made an illegal donation of about ¥800,000 as gifts to citizens in his district. 

8. State of the Economy

  • On Friday, the government ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free trade agreement. 

  • RCEP was signed by 15 Asia-Pacific countries including China and ten members of ASEAN, and will cover roughly 30 percent of world GDP. Japan became the third country to ratify the deal that is expected to enter into force later this year

  • The Cabinet Office released on Thursday this month’s monthly economic report, which outlines the current state of the economy

  • It showed that the economy is slowly picking up, with exports, investments and corporate profit increasing moderately. At the same time, non-manufacturers continue to suffer, while private consumption continues to be weak.

  • The ministry of health, labor and welfare on Tuesday began deliberations with labor unions and business groups on setting a standard for raising the minimum wage to an average of ¥1,000 nationwide from the current ¥902. 

  • Labor organizations argue that the current minimum wage is too low, while business groups say they cannot raise wages further due to the pandemic. The minimum wage was not raised a significant amount last year due to the pandemic.

  • The government aims to achieve this to redress income inequality and keep up with international trends in raising the minimum wage.

  • Nikkei reported Tuesday that the government aims to roughly double the number of foreign executives from 95,000 in 2019 to 200,000 by 2030. It also seeks to double FDI to ¥80 trillion ($726 billion) by 2030 from 2020 levels.

  • The Bank of Japan (BOJ) decided at its monetary policy meeting last Friday to extend the financial support program for companies it started during the pandemic. The deadline will be extended from September 2021 to March 2022.

9. Japan’s Push for a Green Future 

  • On Monday, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama participated in the special meeting of ASEAN-Japan ministers of energy.

  • At the meeting, Kajiyama said the government and private sector plan to provide around one trillion yen, or about 9 billion dollars, in financing to introduce renewable energy sources such as solar and aid a switch to liquefied natural gas as fuel for thermal power generation.

  • The government is considering the establishment of a new fund to support municipalities that proactively implement decarbonization policies. The environment ministry plans to include the fund in its FY 2022 budget request.

  • Local governments are calling on the government to establish a subsidy that can be used flexibly compared to the ones that are only available for individual projects. The new fund is likely to be limited to the one hundred “preceding areas” where decarbonization projects will be supported by the government.

  • The new fund will actively support efforts to introduce renewable energy in a way that will lead to the revitalization of the local economies.

  • The BOJ decided at its monetary policy meeting held last Friday to introduce a new system to fund financial institutions that lend to climate-related businesses. It aims to promote private sector involvement in decarbonization projects. It plans to release an outline at its July meeting and begin the program by the end of the year. 

10. Issues Mount a Month Prior to the Olympic Games

  • Yasuhiko Nishimura, grand steward of the Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō) said Thursday that he believes Emperor Naruhito is concerned that the Olympic Games could cause a further increase in coronavirus cases. 

  • Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato downplayed the remarks, saying they did not represent the emperor’s views, but instead were the grand steward’s own views. Prime Minister Suga reiterated Kato’s statement on Friday.

  • The CDP demanded Thursday that the IOC review its special treatment for the “Olympic and Paralympic family” listed in the playbook. According to this, IOC members, their families and media personnel (not part of the family) can eat out at restaurants with private rooms even during the first 14-days from their arrival.

  • There continues to be protests against holding the games. On Wednesday, six citizen groups organized a protest that was held in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. 

  • Concerns remain over the safety of the games. So far, two athletes from Uganda, one each from France, Egypt, Sri Lanka and Ghana have tested positive after entering the country. Eight Ugandan athletes and a local civil servant have been confirmed as individuals who came into “close contact with an infected person.” 

  • The organizing committee faced backlash for its initial decision to permit the sale of alcohol at stadiums. It reversed its decision on Wednesday, just days after the initial announcement that it would permit sales with a strict time limit.

  • There was also a contradiction between the committee and Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa’s statements regarding the sale of alcohol.

  • Marukawa stated on Tuesday that the committee was considering the sale of alcohol because of “stakeholders,” or sponsors like Asahi Breweries. The committee responded that it was not making decisions taking into account sponsors’ intentions.  

  • Prime Minister Suga said Monday that the government will consider holding the games without spectators if it declares another state of emergency. This comes after numerous health experts recommended holding the games without spectators.  

  • It also comes after the IOC, IPC, organizing committee, Tokyo and the Government of Japan agreed to set the limit for spectators at 10,000 people or 50 percent capacity at all venues. Reports suggest the opening ceremony’s spectator cap will be raised to 20,000 to make room for IOC members and sponsors. 

  • The organizers face another issue regarding start times. For example, in Chiba and Saitama, the governors are requesting games that start after 9 p.m. to be held without spectators. Basketball and wrestling matches, to be held in these prefectures, begin as late as 10 p.m. The committee is considering pushing up game times

  • Tokyo Governor Koike announced on Saturday that the metropolitan government will cancel all plans to open public viewing sites in the capital. Many of the venues will be used as mass vaccination sites instead. 

11. Other Developments

  • Toshiba’s shareholders ousted board chairman Osamu Nagayama and a member of the audit committee on Friday. It is extremely rare for the company’s personnel proposals to be rejected. This indicates shareholders lost confidence in the board following the release of an independent probe into governance at the company.

  • The report, released on June 10, found that Toshiba executives colluded with the trade ministry to pressure shareholders over their votes at last year’s general meeting. Toshiba wanted to prevent activist shareholders from adding three members of its choice to the board. 

  • The company announced Friday night that CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa will serve as interim chairman of the board. George Olcott, whose nomination to the board as a new outside director was approved by shareholders, declined the appointment. As a result, only 8 of the 13 candidates nominated in May by Toshiba will sit on its board.

  • Tokyo police arrested on Friday two METI officials—Makoto Sakurai and Yutaro Arai—on suspicion of applying for subsidies through a shell company last December to swindle about ¥5.5 million (≈$50,000).

  • Small- and mid-sized businesses that have experienced a drop in sales can apply for a lump sum of up to ¥6 million (≈$54,000) to help pay the rent.

  • The ministry of internal affairs and communications released Friday preliminary data for the national census. 

  • As of October 1, 2020, the total population including foreigners was 126.2 million, a decrease of about 868,000 since the previous survey in 2015. According to UN estimates, Japan ranks 11th in the world, out of the top ten most populated countries for the first time since the 1950s.  

  • Wednesday marked the 76th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa, which resulted in the death of more than 200,000 soldiers and civilians. Due to the state of emergency, a scaled back ceremony was held in Itoman City where the last major clash occurred.

  • The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) gave its initial safety approval on Wednesday for Chugoku Electric Power Company’s No. 2 reactor at the Shimane nuclear power plant station. Formal approval and a restart will require consent from local communities. 

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a 2015 ruling that legal provisions forcing married couples to take the same surname is constitutional. The basis of this ruling is the 1898 Civil Code which states that a husband and wife take on the same surname

  • The justice ministry says Japan is the only country in the world that legally stipulates a married couple must take on the same surname. The UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women calls Japan’s law “discriminatory” and has recommended revising it numerous times


12. Developments Related to the Lower House Election

  • CDP leader Yukio Edano said Friday that he instructed the party to include the goal of temporarily lowering the consumption tax to five percent in its campaign pledges for the snap election. It is viewed as a key COVID-19 countermeasure

  • The party initially showed reluctance to including the policy, arguing it would be difficult to achieve. It decided to include it as a “goal” and not a concrete policy that will be achieved. This decision is likely to be welcomed by the other opposition parties, which demanded this be a centerpiece of the campaign

  • Edano also said on Sunday that achieving this policy will require tax reform during next year’s Diet session. He added that it will require cooperation with the current ruling coalition, which will maintain its majority in the Upper House regardless of the results of this snap election. 

  • The LDP’s Youth Division submitted Wednesday a proposal to President Suga, requesting that the party maintain the 70-year-old retirement age for proportional representation candidates during the next Upper House election in the summer. It also asked that the 73-year-old retirement age for Lower House candidates be strictly enforced too.

  • LDP lawmaker and National Public Safety Commission Chairperson Hachiro Okonogi submitted his resignation letter to Suga on Friday. The cabinet-level member will run for the Yokohama City mayoral election in August. He is against the city’s bid for an integrated resort, which will be a major issue in the election. 

  • On Friday, Okonogi was replaced by Yasufumi Tanahashi, former state minister for science and technology policy. 

  • LDP lawmaker and former chief cabinet secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki also announced he will not be running for re-election in the upcoming Lower House race. He is set to retire as a lawmaker. 

  • Reports suggest the LDP could bring back three lawmakers—Jun Matsumoto, Takashi Otsuka and Taido Tanose—who left the party after visiting clubs during the state of emergency back in January.

  • Some lawmakers believe they should be reinstated because they didn’t break any laws. Others believe a party endorsement will be necessary to win their respective elections. 

  • The government’s electoral reform panel will soon begin reviewing the reapportionment of ten Lower House seats to even the voting power disparity between the most populated and least populated electoral districts. 

  • Preliminary data from the 2020 census released Friday shows that there is a power disparity of 2.09 times between the most populated and least populated districts. The Supreme Court found that a disparity above 2 times is constitutionally problematic. 

  • The panel is expected to recommend a total of ten seats to be reapportioned to Tokyo and four prefectures from each of ten other prefectures, based on the Adams’ Method of seat allocation to better reflect the size of populations in each prefecture. 

  • The government could submit a bill to finalize the proposed allocation during the next ordinary Diet session scheduled to begin in January. The reapportionment will not apply to this upcoming Lower House election. 

13. Tokyo Assembly Election Set for Next Sunday

  • The Tokyo Assembly election’s campaign period (kokuji) began Friday, with the election set for Sunday next week. Parties began campaigning on the streets ahead of the consequential election which is likely to impact the Lower House election

  • A total of 271 candidates are campaigning for 127 seats in 42 electoral districts. The LDP is fielding sixty candidates, the most out of any party. It will work with Komeito to overtake the Tomin First Party (Tokyoites First), which holds the most seats in the legislature. 

  • LDP President Suga spoke at the opening ceremony of the campaign on Friday, stating that Tokyo’s growth will spur Japan’s growth. He added that he will continue to push vaccinations and prioritize a safe and secure Olympic Games. 

  • The key points in this election will be the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s coronavirus response, the Olympic Games and whether the LDP-Komeito coalition will regain its majority in the assembly.

  • LDP-Komeito performance in this election will indicate how well the parties could perform in the national election come the fall.

  • AERA, an Asahi Shimbun magazine, published an article on Sunday, which predicts based on polls that the LDP-Komeito coalition will regain a majority in the assembly. It projects the Tomin First Party could fall to the fifth largest party in the assembly.

Other Noteworthy News

  • Government Partially Discloses the “Akagi File”Finance Minister Taro Aso said Friday that the government does not plan to disclose the documents compiled by Toshio Akagi, a bureaucrat who committed suicide in 2018 after being forced to take part in the falsification of documents related to a questionable sale of state-owned land. The government maintains that this is an issue to be dealt with in court, and that there is no need for a reinvestigation into the matter. The government also rejected demands by the opposition to deliberate on the issue at an out-of-session examination session. Instead, it agreed to a closed meeting of the finance affairs committee in both Houses on Thursday. The “Akagi file” was partially disclosed on Tuesday, revealing copies of emails from the Tokyo headquarters of the finance ministry requesting certain things, such as deleting references to Akie Abe, former prime minister Shinzo Abe’s wife, from the paperwork related to the heavily discounted sale of land to private school operator Moritomo Gakuen. One email from headquarters said instructions had been given by Nobuhisa Sagawa, then director-general of the ministry’s financial bureau, to rewrite the public documents. The documents reveal that the finance ministry forced Akagi and other local bureaucrats to falsify paperwork, but did not reveal why this had to be done. The government will decide by July 16 whether it will fully disclose the documents. 

  • Governor Critical of Maglev Reelected in Shizuoka: On Sunday, Shizuoka Governor Heita Kawakatsu was reelected for a fourth term, defeating the challenger who was backed by the LDP. Kawakatsu’s campaign focused on his government’s COVID-19 response and his opposition to Central Japan Railway’s Chuō Shinkansen project, a magnetic levitation rail line that will connect Tokyo and Nagoya in around 40 minutes. The governor has cited environmental concerns to hold up construction of the high-speed rail project worth $60 billion. There are concerns that tunneling through the Southern Japan Alps could affect water flow along the Oigawa river system which supplies local households and nourishes the prefecture’s famous tea fields. The government, which instructed the line’s construction in 2014 and approved a ¥3 trillion ($28 billion) loan to JR Tokai, lost its opportunity to displace the incumbent governor. His victory could push back the scheduled start of service on the line, which is currently set for 2027.

II. Public Opinion Polls

  • A FNN/Sankei Shimbun poll released Monday showed a 43 percent approval rating for the Suga cabinet, the same as May, and a disapproval rating of 52 percent, down one percent.
    • 36 percent of respondents somewhat or strongly approve of the government’s coronavirus response, up 11 percent, while 57 percent said they disapprove, down 13 percent.
    • 38 percent of respondents said the government’s decision to lift the state of emergency in nine prefectures besides Okinawa was appropriate; 50 percent said it should have been extended; and 10 percent said it should have been lifted earlier.
    • 47 percent of respondents believe the government’s decision to shift ten prefectures such as Tokyo and Osaka to pre-emergency measures until July 11 was appropriate; 30 percent believe it is too short; 13 percent believe it is unnecessary; and 7 percent believe it is too long
    • 35 percent of respondents believe the government’s decision to relax coronavirus countermeasures and allow eateries to serve alcohol until 7 p.m. is appropriate; 33 percent believe it should be relaxed further; and 28 percent believe it should be stricter
    • 64 percent believe the government’s vaccination program is too slow to achieve the goal of completing vaccination of all willing citizens in October/November; 29 percent believe it is the appropriate speed; and 5 percent believe it is being rushed too much.
    • 51 percent of respondents plan to get vaccinated; 26 percent are already vaccinated; 19 percent will wait and see to decide; and 5 percent will not get vaccinated
    • 35 percent said the Olympic Games should be held without spectators; 33 percent of respondents said it should be held with limited spectators; and 31 percent said it should be cancelled.  
    • 70 percent of respondents believe the measures in place to mitigate the spread of the virus during the Olympics—from daily testing to GPS monitoring to disqualifying violators—will be “somewhat” or “very” effective, while 28 percent believe the measures will have “little” to “no” effect
    • When asked who their choice was for the next prime minister:
      • 19 percent of respondents prefer Taro Kono;
      • 19 percent prefer none of the choices;
      • 16 percent prefer Shigeru Ishiba;
      • 11 percent prefer Prime Minister Suga;
      • 9 percent prefer Shinzo Abe;
      • 9 percent prefer Shinjiro Koizumi;
      • 4 percent prefer Yukio Edano;
      • 3 percent prefer Kishida Fumio;
      • 1 percent prefers Seiko Noda;
      • And less than a percent each prefer Hakubun Shimomura, Yasutoshi Nishimura, Toshimitsu Motegi and Katsunobu Kato, respectively. 
    • When asked which party they would vote for in the proportional block in the next election:
      • 34 percent of respondents plan to vote for the LDP;
      • 10 percent for the CDP;
      • 7 percent do not plan to vote;
      • 4 percent for the Japan Innovation Party;
      • 3 percent for Komeito;
      • 3 percent for the Communist Party;
      • 3 percent for other parties;
      • 1 percent for the Democratic People’s Party;
      • And less than a percent for the Social Democratic Party, The Party to Protect the People From Old Parties and Reiwa Shinsengumi, respectively.
  • The survey also collected data on the latest approval ratings of political parties.
Party NameApproval Rate (%)
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)37 (+2)
Komeito (coalition partner of the LDP)3 (±0)
Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP)8 (±0)
Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party)3 (±0)
Democratic Party for the People (DPP)1 (±0)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP)2 (±0)
Social Democratic Party (SDP)1 (+1)
Reiwa Shinsengumi0 (±0)
The Party to Protect the People From Old Parties
(Former NHK Party)
0 (±0)
Independents43 (-2)
Number in parenthesis shows net change from May survey
  • An Asahi Shimbun poll released Monday showed a 34 percent approval rating for the Suga cabinet, a one percent increase from May, and a disapproval rating of 42 percent, down five percent.
    • 34 percent of respondents said the Olympic Games should be held in the summer, up 20 percent from May; 32 percent said it should be cancelled, down 11 percent; 30 percent said it should be postponed again, down 10 percent.
    • 53 percent of respondents said the games should be held without spectators, while 42 percent said it should be held with limited spectators.

Image: Captain76 (CC BY-SA 3.0)


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