Support for Japan PM's cabinet lowest since it was formed - NHK


FILE PHOTO: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a joint news conference with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, July 27, 2022. Kiyoshi Ota/Pool via REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - Public support for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida slid to the lowest level since he took office last October, with voters questioning his decision to hold a state funeral for former premier Shinzo Abe, public broadcaster NHK said on Monday.

Support for Kishida's cabinet totalled 46%, down from 59% in the previous survey three weeks ago, while the disapproval rating rose to 28% from 21% over the same period, NHK said.

The results of the survey, conducted by phone and involving 1,223 respondents, came just two days ahead of a planned reshuffle of the cabinet and leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Abe was gunned down last month at a campaign rally and the government decided to hold a state funeral in September. But the move to pay for the ceremony for Japan's longest-serving premier, who was also a divisive figure, has faced criticism.

The NHK survey showed 50% of those polled said they did not approve of the government's decision, while 36% said they did.

Kishida's ministers and ruling party lawmakers face public scrutiny over their relationship with the Unification Church, a religious group to which the mother of the man who shot Abe belonged, and which is reported to have had particularly close links with the LDP faction Abe led.

In the NHK poll, 82% of respondents said they did not believe political parties and lawmakers had sufficiently explained themselves about their ties with the Unification Church, known for its mass weddings and devoted following.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Mark Potter)

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