More than a month since taking office, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's ability to communicate his political vision to the public is being tested, with his honeymoon period concluding in a controversy over his refusal to allow certain scholars to join a government advisory body.

The 71-year-old former chief Cabinet secretary, who pledged to continue the major policies of predecessor Shinzo Abe, had a solid start as prime minister. His Cabinet's approval rating stood at more than 65% in media polls conducted shortly after he took over the post on Sept. 16.

But this dropped to 60.5% in a recent Kyodo News survey, with 72.7% of respondents dissatisfied with Suga's failure to explain his decision not to approve six nominees to the Science Council of Japan. All six had spoken against government policies in the past.