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Japan’s ruling LDP scandals weigh on support for PM Fumio Kishida’s cabinet

Some 84.9 per cent said LDP lawmakers who failed to report income from fundraising parties should explain what they used the funds for, while 87 per cent expect the party’s reform proposals drawn up in an interim report will not help the LDP restore public trust.

The approval rating of the Kishida cabinet hit an all-time low in December last year at 22.3 per cent, wavering in the 20 per cent range for the past four polls, including the previous survey last month.

The disapproval rating rose by 1.4 points from the previous poll to 58.9 per cent.

The LDP, led by Kishida, has come under intense scrutiny amid allegations that three of its factions, including the one he led until December, failed to report portions of its revenues from fundraising parties and created slush funds to distribute the proceeds to members.

Prosecutors have indicted or issued summary indictments for 10 individuals belonging to the three groups. However, executives of the factions have not faced criminal charges due to a lack of evidence.

The survey’s results suggest Kishida is far from regaining the public’s trust, as most respondents do not accept his efforts on party reforms.

A total of 76.5 per cent said a guilt-by-association measure between lawmakers and their staffers should be introduced in the political funds control law, while 89.3 per cent answered that it was even necessary to report expenses for political activities that are currently exempted from income and expenditure reports.

Some 83.4 per cent of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of criminal charges against the executives.

While the ruling party began an internal investigation into the scandal, critics have argued that the probe is unlikely to be impartial or help clarify