Survey finds 89% in Japan support Kishida’s ban on newcomers

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Nearly 90% of respondents in a Japanese survey supported the prime minister’s decision to suspend new entries by foreign nationals due to concerns about the Omicron variant.

The Yomiuri newspaper poll, conducted from December 3-5, also found that support for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida rose 6.0 percentage points to 62%. That was one of the highest ratings for the prime minister, who took office two months ago, and about twice as much as his predecessor Yoshihide Suga when he was ousted from office because of his slowness in managing his pandemic.

Despite the U-turn last week on a policy that stopped new flight reservations for December, the newspaper said voters likely approved of Kishida’s quick response to Omicron, which some reports say is more contagious than previous variants of the coronavirus.

The Yomiuri poll found that the long-ruling Kishida Liberal Democratic Party rose slightly, by 41%, while the small right-wing Ishin party, at 8%, was almost level with the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of 7%.

A separate poll by TV broadcaster JNN found that 84% of respondents supported Kishida’s decision to ban foreign entry.

The JNN poll released on Monday also showed that 64% supported the Kishida cabinet, up 4.7 percentage points from the previous month.

After his two predecessors had to rapidly slump their support in the face of criticism, their response to the virus has been sluggish. The closing of the borders to new foreign immigrants came just weeks after Japan began cautiously reopening to some businessmen and students.

Virus cases and deaths have decreased rapidly since the introduction of vaccines. Japan averaged 108 cases in the week to Saturday and had single-digit daily deaths across the country for about a month. The numbers are among the lowest for developed countries, well below the 108,462 cases the United States recorded on Saturday.

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