TOKYO -- Only 38% of the Japanese public supports having the parliament approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, while 35% are opposed, according to a new Nikkei/TV Tokyo survey conducted from Friday to Sunday.
The government and ruling parties seek swift passage to create a free trade zone encompassing 12 Pacific Rim nations, including the U.S. and Japan. But the Democratic Party and others in the opposition argue that more debate is needed. Nearly one-third of respondents to the telephone poll expressed uncertainty as to whether the Diet should greenlight the pact.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet saw its approval rating rise 2 percentage points from last month's survey to 60% and its disapproval rating drop 5 points to 27%. Among supporters, 50% also back passage of the TPP and 26% oppose it. Among those disapproving of the cabinet, 64% oppose the TPP and 19% support it. By occupation, 46% of corporate employees support passage and 35% oppose it. For housewives, the figures came to 22% and 33%.
On restarting nuclear power plants, which had all been shut down after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, 56% said it was unnecessary to go ahead, while 28% said it should. Support was lukewarm even among backers of the Abe cabinet, with 39% saying operations should resume but 48% saying they should not. And 82% of those disapproving of the cabinet oppose restarting nuclear plants.
The possible restart of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings' Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant has become a flashpoint. Niigata Prefecture, which hosts the facility, elected anti-nuclear activist Ryuichi Yoneyama governor Oct. 16.