Photo/IllutrationMembers of the public watch deliberations in the Lower House plenary session on revisions to the immigration control law on Nov. 13. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Sixty-four percent of respondents said there is no rush to revise the immigration control law to expand the acceptance of foreign workers from next spring, according to an Asahi Shimbun poll released on Nov. 20.

They said it is not necessary to pass the revisions in the current extraordinary Diet session, while 22 percent of respondents believe it should be.

The nationwide poll was conducted Nov. 17 and 18.

The government and the ruling parties are seeking to pass the revisions to the immigration control law in the current Diet session.

However, even among supporters of the Liberal Democratic Party, the main force of the ruling coalition, 57 percent said that it is not necessary to do so. Only 31 percent replied that the revisions should be passed in the current session.

The survey also asked respondents about whether they support the expansion of acceptance of foreign workers. Forty-five percent, down from 49 percent in the previous survey in October, said they support it. Forty-three percent, up from 37 percent, expressed opposition.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that accepting more foreign workers into Japan is not a policy of accepting immigrants. As for Abe's comment, 52 percent of respondents said that they don't accept the explanation while 29 percent replied that they agree with it.

In the latest poll, the support rate for the Abe Cabinet stood at 43 percent, up from 40 percent of the previous survey, while the nonsupport rate was 34 percent, down from 40 percent.

The latest number means that the support rate for the Abe Cabinet recovered to the levels recorded in January and February polls, which were taken prior to the revelation of the alteration of Finance Ministry documents.

Respondents also were asked about the four islands off eastern Hokkaido that were occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II in 1945. The islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan, are Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and Habomai.

Abe agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin in their summit on Nov. 14 to accelerate peace treaty negotiations based on the 1956 Japan-Soviet joint declaration that stipulates the return of two islands, Shikotan and Habomai, to Japan after concluding a peace treaty.

The survey asked respondents if they expect an agreement to lead to a resolution of the long stalemate over the Northern Territories issue.

A total of 60 percent replied that they don't expect that at all or very much. Thirty-eight percent responded that they very much expect it or at least to some degree.

The survey also asked about how Japan should deal with the Northern Territories issue.

Fifty-one percent replied that the government should first seek the return of Shikotan and Habomai and continue to hold negotiations on the return of the remaining two islands.

Meanwhile, 25 percent said Russia should return the four islands at the same time, and 11 percent said that Japan should conclude the Northern Territories issue with the return of the two islands. Six percent replied that Japan should not seek the return of any of the four islands.

The Asahi Shimbun conducted the survey through land-line telephones and mobile phones of eligible voters chosen randomly by computer.

Of 2,048 households contacted with land-line telephones, 991 people, or 48 percent, gave valid responses. As for mobile phone users, 949 of 2,022 people, or 47 percent, gave valid responses.

Land-line telephones do not include those located in a part of Fukushima Prefecture.