Warning: What follows is pure speculation, untainted by “informed sources in Nagatacho” or a lifetime of study of the intricacies of habatsu (factions) in the Liberal Democratic Party or the genealogy of Japanese politicians.

Battered by scandal, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plumbs new depths of unpopularity. His survival as president of the ruling-LDP Party defies laws of political gravity. Really, Aoki’s law, named after former Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki, postulates that a Japanese government’s days are numbered when the sum of the Cabinet's job approval rating and the ruling party's support rate falls below 50%.

According to a Jiji Press poll released Dec. 14, the Kishida Cabinet's approval was 17.1% and the LDP claimed just 18.3% support. Even I can figure out that those numbers add up to considerably less than 50%. Those numbers are bad, but they aren’t outliers: A Nikkei-TV Tokyo poll released Dec. 17 had Cabinet support dropping to 26%, while that of the LDP fell four points to 30%.