The clock is ticking for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. A relentless plunge in public support for his Cabinet and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has his party’s lawmakers nervous about their prospects in any future election, while senior members of the LDP are angry at the prime minister for his handling of recent scandals.

Kishida says he is focused only on doing his job and serving the country — hoping that success in governing will reverse his dismal approval ratings. That is possible, albeit unlikely. The prime minister has proven to be both stubborn and resilient, however, and he may hope that the party will rally around him to avoid an open, contested leadership election that exposes the LDP’s divisions.

The president of the LDP serves as prime minister when the party retains a majority in the Diet — as it has virtually throughout the postwar period. The LDP will hold a leadership election in September and Kishida aims to win a second term as party president and prime minister.