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Survey finds 81 percent think income gap widening
[March 15, 2006]

Survey finds 81 percent think income gap widening


(Yomiuri Shimbun, The (Tokyo) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Mar. 14--TOKYO -- Eighty-one percent of people say the gap between those earning a lot and those who are not is widening, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey conducted over the weekend.



Of the respondents who said the gap is widening, 56 percent said the structural reforms Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has been pursuing have helped widen the discrepancy between the haves and have-nots, while 40 percent disagreed. Only 16 percent of respondents did not think the gap is widening.

The poll was conducted Saturday and Sunday on 3,000 people at 250 locations across the nation, of which 1,812, or 60.4 percent, gave valid answers. The respondents included an equal number of men and women.


According to the poll, 59 percent of respondents think that in today's Japan it is impossible for people to overcome the gap even by working hard, exceeding the 39 percent who think it is possible.

"Being a winner or a loser must not be permanent. It's important to offer people chances to win, even if they've lost once," Koizumi once said in the Diet. However, the majority of the public seem to see the gap as becoming permanently entrenched.

This sentiment was particularly prominent among those who do not support the Koizumi Cabinet, as 69 percent of those people said they do not think it possible for anyone to overcome the gap.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents said the widening gap was cause for concern, while 18 percent said it is not a problem. Middle-aged and elderly respondents were particularly concerned about the widening gap, with 83 percent of those people worried about it.

Support for Cabinet edges up According to another survey conducted over the weekend, the approval rate for the Koizumi Cabinet stood at 54.9 percent, up 1.4 percentage points from the previous survey in February and the first increase in four months. Respondents who disapproved of the Cabinet's performance decreased by 0.3 point to 35.9 percent.

Among political parties, the Liberal Democratic Party was supported by 42.3 percent of respondents, up three points from the previous survey, while support for the Democratic Party of Japan slipped 2.2 points to 11.1 percent, the lowest since Seiji Maehara became party leader in September.

The drop is largely attributable to the blow the party suffered due to the brouhaha over a copy of an e-mail that the party brought to a Diet session in February and claimed was evidence that former Livedoor Co. President Takafumi Horie had instructed a subordinate to pay 30 million into the account of LDP Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe's son. The DPJ later admitted the e-mail was not genuine.

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