Photo/Illutration The logo of the government’s “Go To Travel” campaign (From the secretariat of the “Go To Travel” program)

More than half of voters oppose a possible extension of the government’s “Go To Travel” campaign to aid the pandemic-battered tourism industry, with disapproval particularly high among older people, an Asahi Shimbun survey found.

Overall in Japan, 51 percent of voters believe the government should end the subsidy program in January as scheduled, while 37 percent were in favor of an extension that is now being considered to shore up the industry and overall economy, according to the Nov. 14-15 telephone survey.

In Hokkaido, which has seen a record-setting surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, nearly 70 percent of respondents objected to a continuation of the tourism program.

In contrast, 52 percent of respondents in Tokyo said they would endorse an extension, compared with 39 percent who were against the idea.

The survey also showed a wide difference in opinion between age groups.

Support for the extension of the campaign outweighed opposition among people in their 30s or younger. But among those in their 60s, 63 percent were against the continuation while 24 percent were in favor.

Among those who said they approve of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, 46 percent back the extension and 43 percent oppose, according to the survey.

Seventy-one percent of respondents who disapprove of the Cabinet wanted the campaign to end in January while 21 percent were in favor of prolonging the program.

The percentage of voters who gave a positive assessment of the government’s handling of the pandemic was 46 percent, down 3 percentage points from the last survey in October, the survey showed.

The ratio of respondents who feel anxious about their economic well-being amid the pandemic rose by 4 points from the previous survey to 56 percent. In particular, 60 percent of the voters in their 30s and 40s cited economic concerns in the latest poll.

The overall figure for those who did not feel any economic anxieties was 42 percent.

The survey also found that 88 percent of respondents have no plans to return to their ancestral homes or travel during the year-end holidays. The number of those who answered otherwise was 11 percent.

As for the traditional New Year’s visits to shrines, 50 percent of respondents said they do not plan to do so, while 35 percent plan to avoid visiting during the first three days of 2021.

Thirteen percent replied that they will visit shrines between Jan. 1 and Jan. 3.

Also in January, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will go into force. Japan has not joined the treaty, citing the need for a continued reliance on U.S. nuclear capabilities for the country’s defense.

According to the survey, 59 percent believe Japan should sign the treaty, compared with 25 percent who objected to such ratification.

But the survey found that 57 percent of those who approve of the Suga Cabinet feel that Japan should join the treaty, which outlaws the production, use and stockpiling of nuclear weapons.

The number jumped to 78 percent among voters who disapprove of the Cabinet.

By party, 51 percent of supporters of Suga’s Liberal Democratic Party and 88 percent of backers of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan want Japan to ratify the treaty, the survey showed.

Home phone or mobile numbers selected at random by a computer were called for the survey.

It received 623 valid responses, or 51 percent, from 1,212 households that had at least one eligible voter. As for mobile phones, the number of valid responses was 924, or 46 percent, after 1,994 were identified as eligible voters.