Japan PM’s support slides on coronavirus response

(Reuters) – Support for Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s cabinet tumbled nearly 13 points due to dissatisfaction with the government’s response to a resurgence in the coronavirus, a weekend Kyodo News survey showed.

Support for Suga’s cabinet dropped to 50.3% from 63.0% a month earlier, with the disapproval rating rising to 32.8% from 19.2%, the Kyodo survey showed.

About 48% of respondents want the government to temporarily halt its “Go To Travel” subsidy campaign due to concerns the tourism programme was increasing the spread of the virus, while a separate Yomiuri newspaper survey showed 57% want the campaign suspended.

Some medical groups and experts say the travel campaign has fuelled a third wave of coronavirus cases. But Suga on Friday defended the programme, saying it was aimed at helping small businesses in the hospitality sector get through tough times.

Japan has reported around 163,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and 2,300 deaths.