Six months into his term, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga faces unprecedented troubles. From getting COVID-19 vaccines distributed as quickly as possible, to ensuring the Tokyo Games are held safely and dealing with a political scandal related to a family member, he must deal with issues that would test the mettle of any prime minister.

But Suga’s attempts to reassure the nation, especially through televised news briefings, are floundering. A poll by Kyodo News last weekend showed a Cabinet support rate of 42.1%, and about 54% of supporters said the only reason they felt that way was because they couldn’t see anyone else appropriate for the position.

Political pundits and communications experts point out that, regardless of the content of his policies and statements, the prime minister is doing a poor job at conveying his message and convincing people of his leadership qualities. At first glance, this might appear surprising. Suga, as chief Cabinet secretary under former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was the government’s chief spokesperson, dealing with reporters on a daily basis.