Support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has bounced back, even as mounting opposition to his defence policy led thousands of people across the nation to protest against his push to expand the powers of Japan's military. The approval rating of Abe's cabinet rose 8 percentage points from last month to 46 per cent, according to a Nikkei newspaper survey conducted August 28-30. The bump comes despite a majority of respondents opposing Abe's economic policies and his plan to push through the controversial security legislation before the end of this month. Opposition to the bills had undermined Abe's voter support, which was also battered by the scrapping of a controversial Olympic stadium design, a leak of pension information, and concern over his war anniversary statement. A slide in stock prices has also cast fresh doubt on the effectiveness of his economic policies. Nonetheless, a splintered opposition and a lack of alternative candidates means he is almost certain to be handed another three years as head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in a leadership vote next month. Abe, who came to power in December 2012, is already the longest serving of the previous six Japanese prime ministers. "Abe has weathered a hot summer, both inside and outside the Diet building," said Michael Cucek, an adjunct professor at Sophia University in Tokyo. "It seemed for Abe the news could not get any worse, and then it happened: the news did not get any worse," he said, adding that Abe seems to be "levitating in contempt of the normal downward pull of political gravity". Abe's statement on the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender also may have helped his numbers, with the Nikkei survey showing that 42 per cent approved of Abe's words, while 33 per cent didn't. Abe upheld past apologies for Japan's wartime actions but sought to draw a line under admissions of remorse. "People are a little relieved over Abe's pragmatic handling of the statement," said Tsuneo Watanabe, a senior fellow at the Tokyo Foundation. "People realised that the opposition looks immature to handle all of Japan's issues, including the economy."