Wednesday 3 June 2020
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todayonline - 11 days ago

Japan PM Abe s support slides as top prosecutor s resignation bites

TOKYO - Public support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe s cabinet slumped to a near three-year low, a poll by the Mainichi Shimbun daily showed on Saturday, in a further setback to the premier after Tokyo s top prosecutor quit this week over gambling. Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office chief Hiromu Kurokawa, who is seen as close to Abe, resigned on Thursday for gambling during Japan s coronavirus state of emergency. The resignation dealt a blow to Abe, whose support has waned over his handling of the pandemic. Abe s approval ratings dropped to 27% from 40% in the prior poll on May 6, posting the lowest reading since July 2017 when it was at 26%, according to the May 23 survey jointly conducted by the daily and the Social Survey Research Center. Disapproval ratings surged to 64%, jumping from 45% seen in the previous survey. Some 52% called for a harsher measure against Kurokawa, saying he should be subjected to disciplinary dismissal, the poll showed. Kurokawa has been at the centre of a furore over the government s efforts to raise the retirement age for prosecutors after he was allowed to stay in his post beyond retirement age of 63. Three-fourths of respondents say Abe should be held responsible for delaying Kurokawa s retirement since February, the poll showed. Abe s government this week ditched its push to enact a bill during the current session of parliament that would raise prosecutors retirement age to 65 from 63, and let the cabinet defer retirement of senior prosecutors for a further three years, a step critics said threatened judicial independence. Abe s ruling Liberal Democratic Party suffered a decline in support in the poll to 25% from the previous reading of 30%, while approval ratings for opposition parties inched up only slightly. REUTERS

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