November 10, 2014 / 11:39 AM / in 3 years

Japan PM Abe's approval rating sags amid talk of snap election

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s approval rating fell in a public opinion poll published on Monday amid speculation the government is considering calling a snap election.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) looks back as he and his wife Akie, in traditional Chinese-style outfit, arrive at Beijing National Aquatics Center, or the Water Cube, for the APEC Welcome Banquet, in Beijing, November 10, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

National broadcaster NHK surveyed 1,527 people and found support for Abe’s government had fallen 8 percentage points from last month to 44 percent, the lowest since Abe’s government began two years ago.

Of those surveyed, 38 percent said they disapproved of Abe, up 4 percentage points from last month.

Abe’s popularity has been sliding since two members of his cabinet resigned last month over political scandals.

Abe also has to decide before the end of the year whether to raise the sales tax next year and some media are reporting that he could delay this plan and call an election.

Of those surveyed, 76 percent said they saw no need for an election, while 74 percent said next year’s sales tax increase to 10 percent from 8 percent should be delayed or scrapped altogether.

When asked which policies the government should focus most of its energy on, 25 percent said economic stimulus, 24 percent said reform of the welfare system and 12 percent said nuclear energy policy.

Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Nick Macfie

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