Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Photo: REUTERS file

Abe's approval rating wilts amid accusations of party funding


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's approval rating has taken a hit in the past month, a media poll shows, amid opposition accusations that his office may have violated political spending laws.

Allegations that his political office sponsored a party for supporters are the latest in a string of gift-giving scandals that have brought down politicians across Japan in recent months, eroding public sentiment.

A monthly Yomiuri Shimbun poll conducted late last week showed an approval rating of 49% for Abe's cabinet, down 6 points from the October poll, and falling below 50% for the first time since February.

The disapproval rating rose to 36% from 34% last month, with 45% of respondents citing "lack of trust in the prime minister" over the party-funding allegations.

Abe on Monday confirmed that 800 guests attended the dinner reception at a five-star hotel in central Tokyo in April, which he and his wife attended, adding that attendees each paid a 5,000 yen admission fee.

"Neither my office nor the party's supporters organization contributed funding towards admission for guests or myself at the dinner event," Abe told reporters on Monday, adding that his office held no record of the event.

Opposition parties say that the admission price was much lower than that of other receptions held at the Hotel New Otani, which start at 11,000 yen per head, according to the hotel's website. They say if Abe subsidised the admission, it may violate the Political Offices Election Law and Political Funds Control Law.

"Abe has said that his office sponsored the reception, so it's mandatory that it keeps records of the event for bookkeeping purposes," Jun Azumi, deputy secretary-general of the centre-left Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, told reporters. "The fact that these records do not exist shows that his office had not intention to keep such records, that his office doesn't acknowledge the event. This is an issue."

Politicians are strictly forbidden to give anything to constituents that even hints at being a gift. The rule is so strict that one cabinet minister quit in 2014 after distributing paper fans during the summer.

Last month, two government officials separately resigned over accusations that they had given fruit and vegetables to constituents as gifts.

Abe, Shinzo2_4.jpg
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Photo: REUTERS file
© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

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Abe's approval rating wilts

this week anyway. he'll pledge to make every Japanese happy, or pledge to win a record haul of Olympic medals next year, or or or.... and his rating will be up again....

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I guess it is time to bring up the North Korea abductees again to deflect the media from his 'wrong-doing.'

In no time at all it will all be forgotten and he will be golden again.

I can't believe that is disapproval rating is only 36%.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Just ask the hotel. One of the magazines can surely scoop this.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It looks like Abe is running out of ‘fall guys’ and the poop is starting to stick to him.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Does it matter? He's unofficially the P.M. for life.More teflon than Don or people are just that apathetic to his actions since it doesn't affect them?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yeah, as Jiji says, down one minute, up next minute. The public will forget very quickly. This guy has done nothing but make empty promises and suck up to his master in USA.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

He's corrupt. everyone knows that. this is not news. moving on..

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well, he's here to stay. Not because he's good but because the opposition just can't get it together. Not Abe baby is good, others are worse. Sigh. No one, nothing credible on the horizon. Everyone knows that. He'll stay as long as his article 9 isn't changed. Japan today is paying for Abe's grandfather's gripe of 70 years ago.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I guess people here would prefer the days of the rotating chair pm, wasnt all that long ago...some even said honest Abe wouldn't last, that he would have a tummy ache and retire again...but here is seven years later and still kicking...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Well, he's here to stay. Not because he's good but because the opposition just can't get it together. Not Abe baby is good, others are worse. Sigh. No one, nothing credible on the horizon. Everyone knows that. 

Agreed(except the last sentence). Others are terrible and total waste of Time, Tax money, resource, everything.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japanese people will soon forget this ever happen.

Moritomo Gakuen scandal..

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I guess people here would prefer the days of the rotating chair pm

Yes, some of us do. Politicians weren't in your face every day in the media like Abe is; it was refreshing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Don't worry, his approval rating will no doubt rise closer to a more important time i.e. an election.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

and the tax increase has nothing to do with lower approval ratings?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Oh just another scandal. Daily business for him. When they interviewed him about this sakura viewing scandal he was laughing and having a ball. Clearly he is untouchable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

All humans must have intergrity, that is the minimum of life , laws or no laws or even if u are the king , owner of business , whatever . Once U put yr hands into any unfairness, yr life is compromised and that is worst than being poor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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