Reshuffle fails to lift Japanese cabinet support, Unification Church doubts linger – polls

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his ministers attend a photocall at Kishida’s residence in Tokyo, Japan August 10, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Pool

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TOKYO, Aug 12 (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet reshuffle appears to have done little to allay voter concerns amid anger over the ruling party’s ties to the controversial Church of Unification, several local media polls revealed on Friday.

Ties to the group have become a major liability for Kishida in the month since the alleged killer of former prime minister Shinzo Abe said his mother was bankrupted by the group and accused Abe of having it. promotes. With approval ratings already at their lowest since taking office in October, Kishida on Wednesday removed some ministers with ties to the group from his cabinet.

More than half of respondents to a poll by the conservative daily Yomiuri, 55%, said Kishida’s response was insufficient, while overall support for his cabinet fell to 51%, down 6 points from a survey conducted from August 5 to 7.

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Some 86% of people who responded to another Nikkei daily poll said Kishida’s actions had not “eradicated their concerns” about the ruling conservative Democratic Party (LDP)’s ties to the organization, but that support for the cabinet remained at 57%.

Kishida told a press conference on Wednesday after announcing the composition of the new cabinet that he had asked all new members to review their ties to the group, saying he did not believe the church had had impact on party policy. About a dozen LDP politicians have revealed ties to the church or related organizations since Abe was killed. Read more

But several members of the new cabinet said they had had ties to the group in the past, such as attending events or making donations to affiliated groups.

Kishida said he had chosen experienced ministers to deal with ongoing crises he called some of the toughest in decades, including soaring prices and growing tensions with China over Taiwan. But he said he only selected those who agreed to “review” their ties to the church.

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Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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