Taking a recent plunge in his Cabinet’s support rate to heart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted Monday that his government’s recent handling of alleged favoritism scandals was at fault for stoking voter distrust, and pledged to “sincerely fulfill” his duty to explain himself.

“I feel very sorry that a large amount of time was spent debating issues unrelated to actual policy during this year’s ordinary Diet session, and that I, myself, sometimes became emotional in responding to questions that I felt were meant to sway public opinion against me,” an uncharacteristically humble Abe told an annual news conference marking the conclusion of the legislative session.

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