Japan PM’s approval sinks further on pandemic response

(Reuters) – Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s approval rating has slid further due to the public’s dissatisfaction with his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic with about half of people in Japan now disapproving of his government, a Yomiuri newspaper poll showed on Monday.

Support for Suga’s Cabinet fell to 39% from 45% last month, with the disapproval rating rising 6 points to 49%, the poll showed.

Critics say Suga acted too slowly after coronavirus cases began surging late last year with his decisions to pause a domestic tourism campaign and declare a state of emergency for Tokyo and major cities coming too late.

The Yomiuri poll showed 78% of the public in favour of expanding the state of emergency beyond the current 11 prefectures, of which 42% say it should be declared for the entire country.