Abe’s support dips to lowest since 2012
cerely accept this as the voice of the people,” Suga said, adding that the administration needed to “be even more earnest” about tasks such as rebuilding the economy.
Abe, in Europe for a G20 summit, told traveling media he would retain core officials in the reshuffle of the Cabinet and ruling Liberal Democratic Party officials planned for August.
“I will reshuffle the LDP leadership and the Cabinet members early next month, aiming to renew peoples’ feel- ings,” Jiji news agency quoted Abe as saying in Stockholm.
“Stability is extremely important to deliver results. The core structure of the Cabinet should not be changed so often.”
Japanese media said the remarks mean he will retain Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who also serves as finance minister, along with Suga and LDP number two Toshihiro Nikai, while ditching gaffe-prone Defense Minister Tomomi Inada.
He also said he would skip a planned visit to Estonia and would arrive back in Japan a day early to visit the flooddevastated southwest.
Reshuffling the Cabinet is a step often taken by belea- gured leaders to repair popularity, but Suga denied that was the case.
Exactly a year ago, Abe’s ruling bloc stormed to a landslide victory in an election for parliament’s upper house, despite concerns over his economic policies and plans to revise the nation’s postwar Constitution.
His administration has since been battered by a scandal over suspicions of favoritism to a friend’s business, verbal gaffes by cabinet ministers and concerns about Abe’s intentions to revise the Constitution.
He faced another challenge on Monday, when former vice-education minister Kihei Maekawa testified to parlia- mentary panels on concerns Abe may have intervened to help win approval for a veterinary school run by an education group whose director, Kotaro Kake, is a friend.
Abe has repeatedly denied doing Kake any favors.
On July 2, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike’s novice Tokyo Citizens First party and its allies — including the LDP’s national coalition partner — won a landslide victory in the assembly election, taking 79 of the 127 seats up for grabs.
The LDP got 23 seats, its worst ever result in the capital and less than half its pre-vote tally.
Shinzo Abe, Japanese prime minister