Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet disapproval topped 40% for the first time, propelled by doubts over whether his ruling party would ever be free of any ties to the Unification Church, according to a public opinion poll.
Revelations of longstanding ties to the church founded in South Korea in the 1950s and famous for its mass marriages have become an issue for Kishida since July 8, when former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and killed. that his alleged killer said his mother was bankrupted by the church and blamed Abe for his promotion.
Support for Kishida has plummeted and ties to the church have also stoked opposition to Abe’s state funeral to be held on September 27.
According to a survey by the daily Yomiuri Shimbun, disapproval of Kishida’s cabinet rose to 41% from 34% about a month ago, climbing to over 40% for the first time since he took office last year. last, with relatively stable support at 50% compared to 51%.
Kishida apologized last week for his ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s ties to the church and said the LDP would make it “party policy” to end those ties and strengthen compliance.
Although 76% said they approved of this, 72% said they did not think the party would be able to completely sever ties with the organization, which over the years has faced questions about how it solicits donations.
Opposition to Abe’s funeral, which will be fully paid for by the government, has soared to 56% from 46% a month ago.
The ceremony, to be held at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan Hall, will cost about 250 million yen ($1.8 million), excluding security expenses and hosting foreign dignitaries, the government said.
A separate survey by TBS television found that Kishida’s cabinet disapproval rating, at 48.3%, slightly exceeded the approval rating (48.1%) for the first time.