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Since reshuffling his Cabinet in September, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has seen two ministers resign in close succession amid scandal, the thwarting of an educational reform plan at the Diet, and debate about a referendum law key to constitutional revision grind to a halt.

To make things worse, in recent weeks he has found himself in hot water, after news that he’d invited supporters to a publicly funded cherry blossom-viewing party sparked accusations he was using the gathering for his own benefit.

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