Prospects of Abe third term dim

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

TOKYO: Just a few months ago, Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe looked to be cruis­ing to a third term that would make him Ja­pan’s long­est serv­ing leader and put him on track to achiev­ing his dream of re­vis­ing its post-war, paci­fist con­sti­tu­tion.

But sus­pi­cions he may have helped a friend get favoured for a busi­ness deal, then rammed leg­is­la­tion through par­lia­ment to close the ses­sion and end de­bate over the is­sue, have led to a slump in sup­port.

A metropoli­tan as­sem­bly elec­tion in Tokyo on July 2 could give clues on the sta­bil­ity of his ad­min­is­tra­tion – a key con­cern for global in­vestors.

“Things are un­rav­el­ling fast for Abe and his in­ner cir­cle,” said Gerry Cur­tis, a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at Columbia Univer­sity. “I still put my money on Abe get­ting a third term, but I am will­ing to wager much less.”

Abe is ac­cused of in­ter­ven­ing to help his friend Ko­taro Kake, di­rec­tor of Kake Gakuen (an ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion), win ap­proval for a ve­teri­nary school in a spe­cial eco­nomic zone. The gov­ern­ment has not granted such ap­proval in decades.

Abe de­nies do­ing Kake any favours. Reuters

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