When Yoshihide Suga became prime minister, following his predecessor Shinzo Abe’s abrupt departure in September 2020, he enjoyed an approval rating of 70%.

Almost a year later, his standing as prime minister is in serious jeopardy.

Things are certainly not going the way Suga had hoped. His Cabinet’s approval rating has slumped into the 30% range, which is considered to be precarious territory. Candidates endorsed by either Suga or the ruling Liberal Democratic Party have consistently lost in by-elections, including in a mayoral race in Yokohama, where the prime minister's constituency is based. His gamble that euphoria from the Olympics would give him a political boost seems to have failed.