Support rate for Kishida’s cabinet falls to 24.5 pct over funds scandal: poll

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The support rate for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida‘s cabinet fell 2.8 percentage points to 24.5 percent, marking its second-lowest rating, amid a high-profile political funds scandal engulfing the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.

A total of 84.9 percent of the respondents said LDP lawmakers who failed to report income from fundraising parties should explain what they used the funds for, while 87 percent expected that the party’s reform proposals drawn up in an interim report would not help the LDP restore public trust, according to the latest opinion poll.

Meanwhile, the disapproval rating rose 1.4 points from the previous poll to 58.9 percent.

Public support rate for Kishida’s cabinet hit an all-time low in December 2023 at 22.3 percent, wavering in the 20 percent range for the past four polls, including the previous survey in January, Kyodo News reported.

At the end of 2023, in the wake of the unfolding scandal where five major LDP factions were suspected of paying kickbacks to member lawmakers who sold fundraising party tickets above their quota without recording the amount as revenue in its political fund reports, over 10 senior officials or heavyweight lawmakers have stepped down from their positions in Kishida’s cabinet or in the LDP.

The survey results suggest Kishida is far from regaining the public’s trust, as most respondents do not accept his efforts on party reforms, Kyodo News added.

Some 76.5 percent said a guilt-by-association measure between lawmakers and their staffers should be introduced in the political funds control law, while 89.3 percent said it was even necessary to report expenses for political activities that are currently exempted from income and expenditure reports.

The nationwide survey reached out to 495 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 2,168 mobile phone numbers, yielding responses from 428 household members and 627 mobile phone users.

The parts of Ishikawa Prefecture affected by the Noto Peninsula earthquake were excluded from the survey, Kyodo News noted.

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