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.
Seoul presses ahead with dialogue policy, despite second missile test
Sirisena swapped the portfolios held by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in a shake up aimed at quelling dissent within the uneasy government he has led since August 2015.
"The situation on the Korean peninsula is complex and sensitive. We urge all sides to avoid provoking each other and continue on the right track of dialogue and consultation," she said.
The US, South Korea and Japan sharply denounced the launch and jointly requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the matter.
A suspected car bomb was detonated at the entrance to the Big-C shopping centre in downtown Pattani on 9 May
The small boat, from the warship KD Perdana, disappeared on Saturday in calm waters off Cape Sedili in the southern state of Johor.
More than 120 climbers have successfully summited Everest from the south side so far this season with another 80 reaching the peak from the Tibet side.
In a company statement Monday, the airline said it would shed 190 management roles as well as 400 non-managerial positions at its Hong Kong head office.
Duterte has railed against the United States, particularly when Barack Obama was president, for criticising the drug war.
South Korean military reports 8th ballistic missile launch this year by reclusive North Korea
Western espionage services have traditionally found it exceptionally hard to develop spy networks in China and Russia.
Filipino Muslim clerics to be targeted if they support the government’s anti-terror campaign, the group threatens
More than 120 climbers have made the summit this season, with the first ascents delayed by high winds, fresh snowfall and unusually cold temperatures.
An attack by Afghan Taliban in Zabul, southern Afghanistan killed at least 20 police
Up to 300,000 computers in 150 countries were hit by the WannaCry worm, which seizes systems and demands payment in Bitcoin to return control to users.
Hundreds of supporters of Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) rushed to the site after news spread about the raid and staged a protest outside the two-storey office building in the upscale Gulshan neighbourhood.