Fumio Kishida is in trouble.
The prime minister is dealing with the lowest approval ratings since his Liberal Democratic Party returned to power in 2012: Support rates so low that they have typically destroyed other leaders. In one recent favorability survey of current and former leaders, Kishida not only ranked below Yasuo Fukuda, the most forgettable of the many LDP heads of the 2000s, but also Yoshihiko Noda, the last head of the doomed administration of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan — whose signature policy achievement was pushing through a widely hated consumption tax hike.
The incumbent is now also facing an emerging funding scandal that has the potential to shake the ruling party to its core. While Kishida himself is not directly implicated, the investigation by Tokyo prosecutors into concealed political funds is set to lead to multiple sackings of senior officials and may even result in the prosecution of Cabinet members.