Abe continues his struggle to tide over political crisis
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.