Just under two-thirds of Japanese people think the government’s rollout of coronavirus vaccines has been slow, a weekend Kyodo survey showed. Despite that, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga saw the support rate for his Cabinet rise to 42.1%, up from the dip below 40% recorded last month.
On the scandal front, 73.9% of respondents said Suga has not given a satisfactory response to allegations that his son, who works for satellite broadcaster Tohokushinsha Film, as well as officials of telecoms giant NTT, entertained communications ministry bureaucrats at posh restaurants in potential violation of the ethics code.
On March 12, the government said it planned to revoke a satellite TV license it gave to a unit of Tohokushinsha, citing the fact that foreign investment in the firm topped the 20% limit allowed under the Broadcast Act. In a Q&A, Eric Johnston takes a closer look at the act, amid questions about what the communications ministry knew when, and the role of those pricey meals.
On Tuesday, a previous political scandal returned to the headlines with news of recently bailed former Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai’s resignation as a lawmaker, and his guilty plea to the charge of vote-buying ahead of the 2019 Upper House election in a bid to secure a seat for his wife.
Suga will be hoping these scandals die down before some crucial upcoming votes on the political calendar. The Tokyo assembly election, a litmus test for the course of national politics, will be held July 4, just ahead of the Olympics. The PM will also have an eye on Hyogo come July 19, when the prefecture will vote for a successor to five-time Gov. Toshizo Ido, who is supported by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, reports Johnston.
On Sunday, opposition-backed former Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai was elected to his first term as governor of Chiba Prefecture, easily defeating the LDP’s preferred candidate and six others. But at his party’s convention the same day, Suga’s mind was on a much bigger vote, as he vowed to lead the LDP to victory in the general election that must happen before the end of October.