JAPAN: Public support for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has dropped to its lowest point since he assumed office due to mounting resentment over Shinzo Abe’s state burial and the affiliation of his ruling party with a contentious church.
According to a study conducted over the weekend by the Jiji news agency, Kishida’s support dropped to 32.3% from 44.3% a month earlier, reaching what is commonly referred to as a “danger level” of 30%, which denotes a government may have difficulty enacting its political agenda.
Jiji noted that the proportion of people who opposed his administration increased by 11.5 points, reaching 40%.
Links to the Unification Church, which was established in South Korea in the 1950s, have become a rising concern for Kishida since Abe was assassinated on July 8 by a suspect who accused him of backing the organization he claimed had caused his mother’s bankruptcy.
Anger over the cost of the funeral on September 27, which state funds entirely covered, and how Kishida chose to arrange it has increased in response to revelations regarding relations between the ruling party and the church, which have long been the subject of criticism.
Last week, when his ruling party released the findings of its investigation into party ties to the church, Kishida defended his choice in parliament. However, the poll found that 62.7% of respondents disapproved of his handling of the church matter, while 51.9% opposed the state funeral.
According to observers, recovering from such severe drops in support would be challenging.