Support rate for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet plunged over a school scandal implicating the prime minister as well as the ruling coalition's unorthodox way of forcing through a controversial legislation in the parliament, according to a Kyodo News poll released on Sunday.
According to the news agency's telephone survey over the weekend, support rate for the prime minister's cabinet dropped to 44.9 percent, down 10.5 percentage points from a survey a month earlier, while the disapproval rate stood at 43.1 percent, up 8.8 points.
As many as 73.8 percent of the respondents said they were not convinced by the government's denial of the allegations that Abe had used his influence to open a new department at a university run by a close friend in a government-designated special economic zone.
Japan's education ministry on Thursday said that a second internal probe has discover documents that may show that Abe had used his influence to aid plans to open the new school.
A Japanese cabinet minister, however, said on Friday that an internal investigation had found staff did not specifically mention the prime minister's wishes with regard to the project, contradicting files found at the education ministry.
Meanwhile, 67.7 percent of the respondents said they did not approve of the unorthodox method used by Abe's ruling parties to force through parliament a controversial "conspiracy" law.
Controversial legislation to criminalize the planning of serious crimes was enacted by Japan's parliament on Thursday despite vociferous calls from opposition parties to scrap the bill and against a backdrop of public discontent and mass protests.
The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito party used its majority, so the amendment to the law could clear a vote in an upper house plenary session, after the Abe-led bloc bypassed an upper house committee vote.
The ruling parties' tactic of bypassing the committee vote, while technically permissible, runs against the conventional legislative process and has sparked criticism among opposition parties that the legislation was not thoroughly examined.