Abe con­tin­ues his strug­gle to tide over po­lit­i­cal cri­sis

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS -

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe’s ap­proval rating slightly re­bounded one day af­ter he reshuf­fled his Cabi­net on Thurs­day, the third reshuf­fle since he re­turned to power in 2012, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal me­dia polls. A sur­vey con­ducted by Ky­odo News Agency on Friday showed an in­crease of 8.6 points in the rating, com­pared with the pre­vi­ous poll. The 44.4 per­cent ap­proval rating comes as a re­prieve for the scan­dal-hit Abe ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The new Cabi­net lineup, as that in pre­vi­ous reshuf­fles, is de­signed to help the in­cum­bent ad­min­is­tra­tion to tide over a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis and shelve fac­tional dif­fer­ences within the rul­ing Lib­eral Demo­cratic Party. For Abe, it is all about dis­tract­ing at­ten­tion from the LDP’s de­feat by a novice ri­val in the Tokyo metropoli­tan elec­tion in July, as well as putting on a show of unity to win sup­port in the race for LDP pres­i­dency next year.

Hit hard by al­le­ga­tions of fa­voritism to a friend in a busi­ness deal, Abe made the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion of ac­cept­ing the res­ig­na­tion of former de­fense min­is­ter To­momi Inada a week be­fore the reshuf­fle. One of his fa­vorite po­lit­i­cal hard­lin­ers, Inada could not even com­plete one year in of­fice fol­low­ing a se­ries of gaffes and a cover-up, in which her min­istry con­cealed records of the ac­tiv­i­ties of Ja­panese troops on a United Na­tions peace­keep­ing mis­sion in South Su­dan.

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