TOKYO, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — Nearly 80 percent of people have lost trust in the Japanese government’s economic statistics amid a recent scandal of falsely collected wage data that resulted in underpaid benefits to about 20 million people, a survey conducted by Kyodo News showed on Sunday.

In a nationwide opinion poll conducted over the weekend with 1,041 registered voters, the support rate for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet stood at 43.4 percent.

His support rate declined from 47.3 percent in November to 42.4 percent in December due to the hasty approval of a bill to accept more foreign workers.

The survey showed that 78.8 percent of the people questioned no longer trust official economic indicators after the Japanese government said Friday that it has released faulty jobs data from the labor ministry for more than a decade.

“It’s very regrettable that we have a situation that impairs the credibility of our statistics,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare admitted Friday that it had failed to pay more than 53.7 billion yen (495.7 million U.S. dollars) in unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and sailors’ insurance.

The issue came to light after the ministry was found to have published its monthly labor survey without collecting enough data.

The ministry said such practice has begun in 1996 and affects nearly 20 million people starting from 2004.

The Japanese government will rework the national budget for fiscal 2019 to compensate the people who did not receive their fair share of benefits because of the faulty data, Suga said.

According to Kyodo News, the survey was conducted among 746 randomly chosen households with eligible voters and 1,206 mobile phone numbers, and a total of 1,041 provided valid answers.

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