Monday’s Yomiuri and Mainichi front-paged the results of their latest public opinion surveys apparently pointing to the public’s discontent with the Abe administration’s handling of the Moritomo and Kake Gakuen scandals and allegations of sexual harassment by the vice finance minister. Yomiuri put support for the premier at 39%, down three points from a month ago, and nonsupport at 53%, up three points, a record high. According to Mainichi, approval stood at 30%, down three points, while disapproval was 49%, up two points. About half of the respondents in both polls said Finance Minister Aso should step down to take responsibility for his top deputy’s alleged misconduct.
Yomiuri wrote that the prolonged political scandals at home apparently dashed the prime minister’s hopes to play up his accomplishments in the Mar-a-Lago summit with President Trump, explaining that the domestic media coverage of the diplomatic event was overshadowed by the harassment scandal involving the top Finance Ministry bureaucrat. As the public was divided over the results of the summit –- 45% were positive and 42% were negative – the daily asserted that the U.S.-Japan summit apparently failed to boost the beleaguered premier’s standing. The paper added, however, that the opposition camp has apparently failed to capitalize on Abe’s relatively poor performance, as public support for the CDPJ, the Party of Hope, and the DP remained low.