Home GRASP GRASP/Japan Abe agrees to testify in Diet as support falls

Abe agrees to testify in Diet as support falls

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has agreed to be grilled by the opposition in the Diet over an unrelenting cronyism scandal that has sunk support ratings for his Cabinet to new lows..
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has agreed to be grilled by the opposition in the Diet over an unrelenting cronyism scandal that has sunk support ratings for his Cabinet to new lows.
His U-turn came on Thursday, after weeks of flatly rejecting opposition demands while stressing his innocence. He is alleged to have pulled strings to help a close friend win approval for a new school.
The scandal has jeopardised Mr Abe’s once-firm grip on power, and public distrust has grown towards the Prime Minister and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) over what is seen as evasiveness.
Local media reports have painted an LDP in disarray, as separate factions jostle for power in the hopes of capitalising on Mr Abe’s waning political fortunes.
Yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga insisted that Mr Abe’s decision to testify had “nothing to do” with his sinking support. Rather, he said, it was for the sake of accountability and to clear the air over any lingering doubts.
The volte-face came late on Thursday, after the party had on the same day rebuffed another request by the main opposition Democratic Party for a Diet inquiry.
The Diet, which closed on June 18, will reopen for a special session that could take place as early as next week, LDP Diet affairs chief Wataru Takeshita said.
The scandal has evolved into Mr Abe’s biggest crisis in his 41/2 years in power, and he is also eyeing a Cabinet shake-up next month to win back public trust.

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