Japan public opposes tax hike to pay for expanding defence spending: Poll

The Japanese public has raised pressure on the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida over the country’s expansion in defence spending and tension-provoking security policies, a Kyodo News poll showed.

Nearly 64.9 per cent of Japanese people disapprove of Japan’s recently announced plan to raise taxes to finance a substantial increase in defence spending, according to the opinion poll released on Sunday.

On Friday, Kishida announced Japan’s updated security and defence-related documents, including the National Security Strategy, marking a significant change to its post-war security policies, Xinhua news agency reported.

Regarding the planned increase in defence budgets for five years from the next fiscal year, 53.6 per cent oppose it, with 39 per cent in favour, the survey showed.

As the government also plans to increase corporate and tobacco taxes to boost defence spending, the poll showed that 87.1 per cent felt Kishida had failed to explain the tax hike plan adequately, with only 7.2 per cent saying his explanation was sufficient.

According to the security documents, aimed at the so-called “counterstrike capabilities,” Japan will acquire the capability to directly attack another country’s territory.

Among the surveyed, 61 per cent believe such a capability could provoke tensions with neighbouring countries, while 33.9 per cent said it is not a concern.

Held on Saturday and Sunday, the telephone poll surveyed 509 randomly selected households with eligible voters on landline phones and 2,245 mobile phone numbers, yielding responses from 425 households and 626 mobile phone users.

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