Japanese PM’s popularity level slides, show polls

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Tokyo, June 19 (IANS) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s popularity level has plunged to the lowest in almost a year, after fresh allegations of cronyism and approval of the anti-terror conspiracy law, according to a survey released on Monday.

Forty-nine per cent of the respondents said they approved of the government led by Abe — 7 per cent lower than the May figure and an 11 per cent drop from April, the poll conducted by Nikkei daily and TV Tokyo network showed.

Another survey conducted by Kyodo news agency indicated yet a weaker support of just 44.9 per cent — down 10.5 points from May.

On June 15, the Japanese upper house passed the so-called “anti-terror conspiracy” law aimed at preventing terrorism, which, according to its opponents, restricts basic freedoms due to having too wide a scope, reports Efe news.

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The Prime Minister has also been hit by another scandal in recent weeks, involving allegations that he granted special favours for the set-up of a new veterinary college at Kake Educational Institution, headed by his friend.

A similar incident occurred in March, when Abe was in the spotlight for his close alliance with the head of a private day-care centre in Osaka, that promoted ultra-nationalist and militaristic views.

Abe’s popular support is at its lowest since October 2016, when it plunged due to the adoption of legislation expanding powers to the Japanese Self-Defence Forces, an act widely criticised.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has planned a cabinet reshuffle in August or September.



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