Public Support for Japan Cabinet Down by 9.2% Over Abe's Corruption Scandal



Opposition MPs have called for the entire cabinet to resign.

But 66.1 percent of respondents to a poll conducted by Kyodo news agency on Saturday and Sunday said they felt the premier had some responsibility for the altered documents.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is facing the worst crisis of his leadership after his and his wife's names were scrubbed from documents showing the discounted sale of government-owned land to a company tied to his wife.

Certain specific groups across Japan staged multiple protests demanding the resignation of Abe for his wife Akie Abe's alleged involvement in a kindergarten scandal.

He also said passages citing Akie and other lawmakers made up "only a portion" of the documents and that they were deleted nearly completely in the doctored version, suggesting that it was not the case that particular consideration was paid to him or his wife. A Mainichi Shimbun poll similarly found 68 percent believe Abe bears responsibility.

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He added that discussions over the price were never held between officials of the Finance Ministry and Moritomo Gakuen.

Aso has blamed the alterations on "some staff members" at the ministry.

The Finance Ministry confirmed last week that changes were made to 14 documents before the revised versions were disclosed to lawmakers past year. The lower house committee is expected to approve the schedule on Thursday.

In an LDP presidential election, half the votes are cast by representatives of its regional chapters, who are more likely to be affected by the sentiments of the general public.

Japan and Russian Federation were both members of the six-party talks, which also involved China, the USA and both Koreas.

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If the Cabinet's approval ratings continue to fall, it could provide "just cause" for some LDP executives to rebel against Abe in the September election, said Masao Matsumoto, a professor of political science at Saitama University and an expert in opinion poll analysis. She has also been criticized for appearing at public events while Abe refused to let her testify in parliament.

While vowing to thoroughly investigate the protracted and still-unfolding scandal to definitively explaine why the documents related to the dubious sale were deliberately altered, Abe admitted that a recent plunge in support ratings were of serious concern.

After the scandal first came to light in February a year ago, Akie quickly severed her affiliation with the school and its operator.

In fact, the latest media polls show that the support rates for the opposition are still dwindling while the rate for the LDP has only fallen slightly despite the latest developments in the Moritomo scandal.

Nobuhisa Sagawa is set to give sworn testimony in the Diet regarding the doctoring of documents detailing the cut-rate land sale to a nationalist school operator in Osaka.

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