World Bulletin / News Desk
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's approval rating has fallen sharply, an opinion poll showed Monday, as scandals erode public confidence in a government now in its fifth year.
He vowed to revive the world's third-largest economy by ending years of on-and-off deflation and pursue his pet project of amending Japan's post-war pacificist constitution that bans it from use of force except in the strictest sense of self-defence.
But for weeks now he has been forced to deny connections with a nationalistic school operator whose purchase of state land to build a primary school at a huge discount has drawn allegations of shady dealings.
Abe has said he had no role in the transaction and has more than once vowed to resign if any connection is found.
But new twists to the scandal, which has also engulfed his defence minister, keep emerging, ensuring it remains on newspaper front pages.
The latest survey by the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper shows approval for Abe's cabinet has dropped by 10 percentage points to 56 percent.
Though that still remains high, the daily said it marked the biggest monthly fall since he took office. Other recent polls have also shown declines.
Some 64 percent of the more than 1,000 respondents to the Yomiuri survey, conducted at the weekend, said they were not convinced by Abe's denials.
Yasunori Kagoike, the school operator, last week claimed he received a one million yen ($8,800) donation from Abe for the primary school, plans for which now have been put on ice.
Abe's wife, Akie, had been named honorary principal of the school but stepped down last month as the land scandal swirled.
Abe has said neither he nor his wife made any donation and analysts quoted in local media said even if they had it was not illegal. But if proven it could hurt his political standing as his credibility would be called into question.
The issue could come to a head on Thursday when Kagoike, who has gained notoriety for operating an Osaka kindergarten that inculcates pupils with ultra-nationalist views, will be questioned under oath in parliament.
The scandal has also drawn in Abe's hawkish defence minister, Tomomi Inada, who was forced to apologise to lawmakers after it emerged she had represented Kagoike in court more than a decade ago after saying a day earlier she had not.
She is also taking flak in parliament over a parallel scandal related to Japan's peace-keeping unit in South Sudan that has raised concerns about civilian control of the military.
Agriculture Ministry confirms dozens of farms used illegal insecticides
Ministry of Interior directs all security units to be extra vigilant on 99th Independence Day
Several others also sustained injuries in ‘unidentified explosion’ at inter-Korean border
Residents of the eastern city of Hangzhou -- home to e-commerce giant Alibaba -- can now register their internet-related civil complaints online and wait to log onto to their trial via videochat.
Each of the dead men has a number in Roman numerals drawn in black pen above their bare feet to help the morticians keep track of the bodies that churn through each night. One of them is marked VI.
Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah is the first Tamil to head a wing of the military since 1970, even though Tamils make up around 15 percent of Sri Lanka's population.
South Korea's President Moon Jae-In moved to reassure his citizens that Seoul has an effective veto on US military action, after weeks of sabre-rattling from both US President Donald Trump and the North's Kim Jong-Un.
Most of the victims are children, an official from Department of Disaster Management says
South Korean leader Moon Jae-in says Pyongyang’s nuclear threat must be resolved by peaceful means
Operation against ISIL in eastern Afghanistan injures several soldiers
President Joko Widodo asks nation to fight terrorism, drugs and illegal fishing
International human rights watch claims Duterte has unleashed a human rights calamity
In one of the deadliest operations of the war, police reported killing 32 people in raids on Monday on suspected drug traffickers in Bulacan province, which neighbours the capital of Manila.
Duterte has waged an unprecedented crackdown on drugs during his 14 months in power that has seen police and suspected vigilantes kill thousands of people, leading to warnings by rights groups that he may be overseeing a crime against humanity.
The drill, part of a 19-day exercise, came after a tense war of words between the United States and North Korea over Pyongyang's threats to fire missiles towards the Pacific island of Guam.
The allegations against the prime minister spiralled from the Panama Papers leak last year, which sparked a media frenzy over the lavish lifestyles and luxury London property portfolio of the Sharif dynasty.