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Approval rating for Japanese PM Abe's cabinet drops on U.S. base relocation, labor data scandal

Staff Writer |
The approval rating for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet decreased to 43.3 percent, as many urge the government to respect an Okinawa referendum that rejected the relocation plan of a U.S. air base, a poll conducted by Kyodo News showed Sunday.

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The cabinet's approval rating dropped 2.3 percent compared to the previous survey in early February, while the disapproval rating remained 40.9 percent.

On the Okinawa referendum on the relocation plan of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, 68.7 percent of the surveyed said that the central government should respect the outcome while 19.4 percent said there is no need to do so.

In February, more than 70 percent of local voters rejected the central government's plans to move the U.S. base from the Ginowan region to the coastal Henoko area also on the island, giving the Okinawa government a stronger foothold in its campaign to block the controversial move.

However, Abe said the central government will forge ahead with its plan to relocate the Futenma base.

The nationwide telephone survey conducted over the weekend also showed that a large majority of respondents were disappointed with the government's controversial labor data scandal.

Among the questioned, 70.7 percent said they are dissatisfied with the government's denial of a systematic coverup after an investigation on the issue. About 13 percent said otherwise.

The scandal, which has rocked the labor ministry involving the improper collection of data in the ministry's monthly labor survey, dated back more than a decade and resulted in more than 20 million people not receiving their full benefits.

According to Kyodo News, the poll was conducted among 740 randomly chosen households with eligible voters and 1,218 mobile phone numbers, and a total of 1,029 provided valid answers.

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