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LDP alarmed by growing public discontent with prime minister

 

All papers reported on the strong apprehension among LDP politicians over the rapid decline in Prime Minister Abe’s popularity as evidenced by the results of public opinion surveys conducted over the weekend by four major media outlets, including Yomiuri and NHK. Their concern about the prospects for the next general election has deepened because public approval for the ruling party has also plunged. These legislators are alarmed by the severe criticism leveled against the premier and the ruling party by their local constituents. As Abe is rapidly losing his grip on power amid the steep drop in public support, the dailies suspected that the cabinet reshuffle planned for early August may not be able to turn around growing pessimism over the fate of the administration. Asahi speculated that if Abe’s support rates drop below 30%, calls may emerge within the LDP for the premier to step down ahead of the next national election. 

 

Yomiuri added that ruling party Diet members are split over Abe’s plan to submit an LDP draft on constitutional revision by year’s end, with proponents insisting that his leadership will be weakened further if he gives up on the plan, while opponents argue that plunging support rates point to the voters’ skepticism about Abe’s resolve to amend the nation’s supreme law.

 

Nikkei reported on rallies calling for Abe’s resignation that were held on Sunday in Shinjuku and six other locations across the nation, noting that the events were organized spontaneously in response to social media messaging by a group that is critical of the Abe administration. 

 

In a related story, Mainichi claimed in a front-page story that Abe is likely to retain LDP Secretary General Nikai when he changes the lineup of the LDP leadership and the cabinet next month in order to rely on the veteran lawmaker’s strong ties with key Chinese and South Korean officials. Abe will also ask LDP Vice President Komura to stay on so that the lawyer-turned legislator can take the initiative in drafting a new constitution.  

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