xi's moments
Home | Asia Pacific

Japanese PM Kishida's approval slumps further

By JIANG XUEQING in Tokyo | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-06-14 09:22

File photo of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. [Photo/Xinhua]

The approval rating of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's cabinet fell further in June, indicating that a controversial attempt by his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, or LDP, to revise political funding controls in response to its slush fund scandal has not been well received by the public.

According to a Jiji Press survey released on Thursday, Kishida's cabinet approval rating decreased by 2.3 percentage points from the previous month to 16.4 percent — the lowest level since the LDP returned to power in 2012.

Lawmakers and experts have raised concerns over loopholes in a bill proposed by the Kishida-led LDP to revise the Political Funds Control Act.

On June 6, the bill was passed by the House of Representatives, the lower house of Japan's Diet. It is expected to be passed into law during the current parliamentary session, which is scheduled to end on June 23.

Substantive deliberations on the bill in a Special Committee on Political Reform in the House of Councilors, the upper house of the Diet, began on Monday.

Michiya Haga, a member of the House of Councilors from the Democratic Party For the People, pointed out that the LDP's bill is full of loopholes.

Haga said these include the plan for politicians to explain how they spent funds by having to disclose receipts for policy activity expenses but only after 10 years have passed.

Haga pointed out that allowing such a long delay in reporting is open to abuse and will do little to dampen public anger over slush funds.

Tomoko Tamura, chairperson of the Japanese Communist Party, said if the disclosure of policy activity expenses only happens 10 years later then voters will not be able to check how the politicians are spending money before the next election.

Toru Azuma from the Japan Innovation Party questioned the ruling party's plan to disclose receipts related to policy activity expenses 10 years on and proposed full disclosure without any redactions.

Key points

Jun Azumi, chairman of the Constitutional Democratic Party's Diet Affairs Committee, said the LDP's bill was hastily presented and done so at the last minute, with many key points still under consideration.

Takakage Fujita, president of the Alliance to Stop the Impermissible Acts of Slush Fund and Tax Evasion by the LDP, was also critical of the 10-year delay.

"Specifically, the proposal to disclose receipts for policy activity expenses 10 years later is a sham. By that time, the relevant Diet members may have passed away or retired," Fujita said.

"Even if fraud is discovered 10 years later, the statute of limitations under criminal law will often have expired, making it impossible to pursue the case. The public will also likely have forgotten about it."

Although it may be reasonable to disclose significant information related to national secrets only after 10 years have passed, the food and drink expenses of lawmakers do not qualify as state secrets, Fujita said.

The political funding reform proposal submitted by the LDP cannot prevent incidents like the recent slush fund and tax evasion scandal, Fujita said, noting that the essence of the proposal is "deception, trickery, and fraud".

Karin Amamiya, a Japanese writer and social activist, said the bill is clear evidence that the LDP cannot self-regulate.

"It is evident that the ruling party is underestimating the public, so I think its approval ratings will drop even further," she said.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349