Japanese PM says he will reshuffle Cabinet and party leaders next month
TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will reshuffle his Cabinet and party leaders early next month, moving to shore up his worst levels of popular support since returning to power in 2012, following a historic loss in a Tokyo assembly election.
Last week’s loss, delivered by a novice political group, spotlights Abe’s potential vulnerability after nearly five years in power, with many blaming voter perceptions of arrogance on his part and that of his powerful Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga.
Opinion polls on Monday showed Abe’s popularity at its lowest since he returned to power late in 2012, with support of 36 percent in one conducted by the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper — tumbling from 49 percent a month earlier.
Another, in the liberal Asahi, found support of 33 percent, a slide from 38 percent from a week earlier, with 60 percent of independent voters not supporting Abe’s cabinet — numbers Suga said the prime minister was aware of.
“I believe he wants to sin-