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Links to Fringe Church Hit Japan Leader’s Popularity

  • Kishida’s approval plummets as party links to church revealed
  • Premier’s reshuffle effort fails to satisfy public’s concerns
Fumio Kishida
Fumio KishidaPhotographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination was expected to unite a nation in shock. Instead, it exposed embarrassing ties between the ruling party and the Unification Church, leading to a sharp fall in public support for the current leader and possibly threatening his grip on power.

The approval rating for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plunged 16 percentage points from about a month ago to 36% in a Mainichi newspaper poll published on Monday, the lowest since he took power in October. A majority of respondents to the poll said they saw relations between his ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the church, whose founder Sun Myung Moon was convicted in the US of tax evasion, as problematic.