Support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, battered by losses in a Tokyo assembly election and a soldering scandal, has fallen below 30 percent, the lowest since he returned to power in 2012, according to an opinion poll released on Friday.
Suspicion of scandal over favouritism for a friend’s business and a perception among voters that he and his aides have grown arrogant have taken a toll on Abe, who until recently was favoured to win a third three-year term as party leader, and hence, premier when his current term expires in September 2018.
Support for Abe’s government fell 15.2 points from a month earlier, sliding to 29.9 percent, according to a public opinion survey on July 7 to 10 by Jiji news agency.
“We cannot trust the prime minister” was the main reason, given by 67.3 percent, for his loss of popularity, Jiji said. Other reasons people gave included a dislike of his policies and the fact that “nothing can be expected”.
The poll is the latest to show Abe’s support at the lowest since he returned to office in December 2012, promising to revive the flagging economy, bolster defenses and revise the pacifist constitution.
In a bid to turn the tide, Abe is considering a wholesale shakeup of his cabinet on Aug. 3, replacing more than half of his 19 cabinet ministers while retaining key allies, media has reported.