Japan's ruling LDP-led camp lament another election defeat amid record-low public support

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-24 15:51:21|Editor: Song Lifang
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TOKYO, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party-led (LDP) coalition on Monday lamented another election loss on the heels of a resounding defeat in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election just three weeks earlier.

Party members were quoted as saying this could be the beginning of a rout for the ruling LDP-led coalition, following their candidate losing in the Sendai mayoral election on Sunday.

"We've fallen into a vicious cycle, where the Cabinet approval rating is down and a loss in the Tokyo assembly election is followed by another loss," a mid-ranked LDP lawmaker said, according to Kyodo News.

Others in the ruling camp concurred, saying the result was shocking and the result of the public's diminishing faith in Abe, his cabinet and the LDP, and evidence of growing concerns for national politics under Abe, could lead to the public's support waning even more.

"The defeat in the biggest city in the Tohoku (northeastern Japan) region is shocking. The LDP may lose support further," a young party member was quoted by Jiji Press as saying.

"There was apparently criticism of the administration," said Tetsuo Saito, election chief at Komeito, the LDP's ruling coalition partner. A humble approach is important, he said, according to Jiji.

Saito was referring to public faith in the prime minister and his administration tumbling to historic lows according to the latest media polls.

Approval for Abe's cabinet plummeted to 26 percent, the lowest since he took office in 2012, according to a poll conducted by the Mainichi newspaper over the weekend.

Other national media polls have also revealed recently the public's growing mistrust of Abe following him not fully accounting for himself in connection to an influence-peddling scandal involving an educational institution run by a close friend of his.

Abe and his administration have been plagued by a number of scandals involving both rank-and-file party members as well as members of his Cabinet in recent times.

The prime minister was grilled in parliament on Monday by the opposition camp over the school favoritism scandal and over allegations Defense Minister Tomomi Inada was complicit in a cover-up scandal involving concealing logs recording potentially controversial activities of Japanese troops on a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

Abe's volte-farce allowing himself to be quizzed in parliament on Monday and Tuesday and his decision to reshuffle his cabinet at the beginning of next month is to try and restore the public's faith amid a protracted period of suspicion, sources close to the matter have said.

The opposition parties, in light of Abe's weakening grip on power, are stepping up their collective offensive.

The opposition camp banding together in local elections and to grill the prime minister in parliament, despite the parties' ideological differences, is proving an effective approach, one opposition party member said.

"The distrust for the Abe administration in national politics influenced this (Sendai mayoral election) result," a senior member of the Democratic Party was quoted by Kyodo News as saying.

"It proves that the opposition can be a viable alternative if we band together," the opposition party member said.