Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishido’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest level since taking office, hit by anger over his ruling party’s ties to a controversial church and the state funeral of former leader Shinzo Abe, a poll showed on Monday. Government support fell to 41%, from 47% in a previous poll in late August, the lowest since Kishida took office last October, identical to similar polls released last week, and from 57% in early July, the poll showed. Those who did not support Kishida rose to 47% from 39%, the Asahi Shimbun poll showed.
Links to the Unification Church, founded in South Korea in the 1950s, have become a growing headache for Kishida since Abe was killed on July 8 by a suspect who blamed him for supporting the church, which he said had bankrupted his mother. Kishido’s decision to hold Abe’s state funeral on September 27 also sparked anger, both because of the ties of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers to the church Abe among them and the amount of funding allocated to it.
Kishida defended his decision in parliament last week to bury Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, when he leaves office in 2020, but 64% of survey respondents said they could not accept the prime minister’s reasoning. Opposition to the funeral rose to 56% from 50% in August, the Asahi reported.