Shinzo Abe’s approval rating slides amid coronavirus, prosecution scandal

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's approval rating has dropped amid the global coronavirus pandemic. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI

May 25 (UPI) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s approval rating has dipped by double digits in the wake of his administration’s response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

According to a poll conducted by local paper Asahi Shimbun on Saturday and Sunday, Abe’s approval rating now stands at 29 percent, down from 41 percent on April 18-19. The latest poll numbers are the lowest since Abe assumed office, according to the report.

Tokyo’s declaration of a state of emergency came after the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics. Medical professionals have criticized the administration for under-testing for COVID-19.

According to the Asahi poll, 48 percent of respondents said their confidence in Abe has waned, while 5 percent said their confidence has risen following the coronavirus response.

Abe is also being evaluated based on his decisions on prosecutor appointments. The poll showed 68 percent of respondents hold the prime minister responsible for attempting to extend the retirement age of Hiromu Kurokawa, head of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office.

Kurokawa, Abe’s choice for prosecutor-general, was to succeed Nobuo Inada, who may have been planning to retire this summer, the Mainichi Shimbun reported last week.

When Inada refused to resign as suggested, Abe’s office proposed extending the retirement age so that Kurokawa could still serve as prosecutor-general. Kurokawa’s closeness to the prime minister also came under criticism, according to the Mainichi.

Kurokawa was eventually forced into resignation this month, when it was revealed he had been gambling during coronavirus quarantine.

Japan ended a state of emergency in some of its major cities last week.

The Nikkei reported Monday the coronavirus alert for Tokyo is being lifted, allowing movie theaters, commercial facilities and private academic institutes to reopen in the city.


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