public support for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has reached a new low as frustration about the ruling party’s affiliation with a divisive religious movement has grown due to a string of cabinet resignation, according to a poll released on Sunday.
The Kyodo news poll, Kishida’s lowest in the agency’s surveys since he assumed office in October 2021, showed a decrease in support for his government from 37.6% one month earlier to 33.1%. 51.6% of people disapproved of it, breaking the 50% threshold for the first time.
Kishida’s support has been sliding since the July assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe revealed deep and longstanding ties between ruling Liberal Democratic Party politicians and the Unification Church, a group that critics say is a cult.
Exacerbating the government’s problems, scandals have forced three cabinet members from office since last month.
The Kyodo poll found 62.4% of respondents disapproving of how Kishida had handled the resignations of Economic Revitalisation Minister Daishiro Yamagiwa, Justice Minister Yasuhiro Hanashi and Internal Affairs Minister Minoru Terada.
Kishida’s approval failed to get a boost from a $200 billion economic support package to ease inflationary pains fuelled by the yen’s plunge to 32-year-lows.
On the government’s push to boost Japan’s defence capabilities, 60.8% in the Kyodo survey said they would support the country acquiring counterattack capabilities – controversial under the pacifist constitution – to boosting deterrence, while 35% opposed it.