Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has made a last-ditch attempt to woo voters ahead of an upper house vote on Sunday in which his ruling bloc looks set to lose its majority. Battered by a string of corruption scandals that led two cabinet members to resign and one to commit suicide, and a huge pensions records blunder, Abe’s Liberal Democrats will be fighting to hold onto power. They have ruled Japan almost uninterrupted for half a century
Public support for the his cabinet remains at record low levels, with recent opinion polls showing it slipping below 30%.
Defeat would not automatically force Abe to step down as the role of the upper house is mainly ceremonial. However, in the past, prime ministers have taken responsibility for defeats in the upper house by resigning.
“This is only an upper house election,” said one
voter, “so I am not too worried about the Liberal Democrats losing a few seats. I think it will maintain the status quo.”
“All the parties are the same,” said another voter. “They all come from the same group. Neither brings about real change.”
Abe has vowed that he will continue as prime minister no matter what happens, but with polls indicating defeat, high-ranking members of his own party have already started doubting him.