By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Elaine Lies
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will reshuffle his cabinet on Wednesday to pay attention to politicians’ ties to the Unification Church, seeking to distance his government from the controversial group and reverse a slump in opinion polls. .
The revamp comes as Kishida’s government faces plummeting support rates. Public scrutiny of links between the group and Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) lawmakers has increased sharply since former prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead last month at a campaign rally.
Abe was shot by a man whose mother is a member who believed, according to investigations, that Abe had promoted the group to which his mother made donations that harmed her, Japanese media reported.
Kishida said on Tuesday that his new cabinet members and new ruling party officials need to “thoroughly review” their ties to the group.
“It will be a prerequisite,” Kishida said, speaking at a press conference in Nagasaki.
Support for Kishida’s cabinet has plummeted to the lowest level since he took office last October, falling to 46% from 59% three weeks ago, public broadcaster NHK said on Monday, results in line with other recent polls. . The vast majority of respondents said they want an explanation of politicians’ ties to the Unification Church.
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