Prime Minister Fumio Kishida enters the New Year with his public approval rating the lowest ever and still dropping.

He has just replaced yet another embattled minister — the fourth appointee to fall since the last Cabinet reshuffle a few months back. Meanwhile, voices of dissent from inside his party are spilling out to the public with greater frequency and vigor.

Under normal circumstances, this would be an “all hands on deck” situation in the Prime Minister’s Office, with Japan’s leader singularly focused on getting the party in line and winning back favor with the public.