An opinion survey released on Sunday revealed that support for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration has dropped to its lowest level in his one-year term due to concerns about his party’s admission of connections to the controversial Unification Church.
Kishida has had to overcome allegations of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) strong and extensive links to the church in the aftermath of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s murder in July.
The suspected killer has said his mother was bankrupted by the church, which critics call a cult, and has blamed Abe for promoting it.
Support for Kishida’s cabinet slumped to 35% from about 40% a month ago in a weekend poll by Kyodo news, the lowest in the agency’s surveys since he took office in October 2021. About 48% of respondents said they did not support his cabinet.
Some 83% said the LDP had not done enough to disclose ties between the party’s lawmakers and the Unification Church, far eclipsing the 13% who said it had.
The LDP has acknowledged many individual lawmakers have ties to the church but said there was no organizational link to the party. The staunchly anti-communist church says its political arm has courted lawmakers, mostly from the LDP because of their ideological proximity, although it has no direct affiliation to the party.
On rising prices of food, utilities and other necessities, about 79% in the Kyodo survey said they had been hit, compared with about 21% who had not felt any impact.
According to the most current statistics, Japan’s inflation surged to a nearly eight-year high 2.8% in August, above the central bank’s 2% goal for the fifth consecutive month as pricing pressure from raw materials and currency weakening expanded.