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Cabinet’s support rate sinks to 44.9% as scandals, conspiracy law take toll

Kyodo

The Cabinet’s approval rating has plunged 10.5 points since May to 44.9 percent over its denials in a favoritism scandal linking Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to his close friend’s success in a deregulation project in Shikoku, a Kyodo News poll showed Sunday.

In the nationwide telephone survey on Saturday and Sunday, 67.7 percent of the public was found to disapprove of the unorthodox procedural tactics used by the ruling coalition to ram the contentious conspiracy bill through the Diet. The new law punishes the planning, rather than the execution, of “serious” crimes.

Regarding allegations that Abe pressured bureaucrats to approve a new veterinary department at a university run by his close friend, 73.8 percent said they were not convinced by the government’s now hollow denials. Those who said they were convinced came to just 18.1 percent.

The scandal involves the Kake Educational Institution (Kake Gakuen), which, in a rare move, was allowed to open a new animal medicine department in a specially deregulated zone in Ehime Prefecture.

Of the respondents, 84.9 percent said the government’s internal investigation did not reveal the facts about the construction project and 9.3 percent said it did.

Respondents were also divided over the conspiracy law itself, with 42.1 percent for it and 44.0 percent against. Those who said the new law could lead to greater state surveillance came to 50.7 percent.