Abe likely to resign in June: Former Japanese PM

Tokyo:Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to resign in June over two cronyism scandals that sent his approval ratings to an all-time low and risk damaging his partys fortunes in the 2019 elections, former leader Shinzo Abe told a weekly magazine.

Koizumi, who was Prime Minister from 2001-06, told Aera magazine published on Monday that Abe has found himself in a “dangerous” situation over the scandals. “Won’t Abe resign around the time the parliamentary session ends (on June 20)?”

The Prime Minister’s popularity hit a record low of 26.7 per cent in a survey conducted by Nippon TV, while according to Asahi’s survey it fell by 31 per cent, the lowest in more than five years of Abe’s term, much lower than April 2013, when his rating peaked at 65.7 per cent.

His popularity plunged more than 10 points, after his Finance Minister had admitted in March that his ministry had faked documents related to the sale of state-owned land at around one-tenth of its price to a private educational institution, with alleged links to the Prime Minister and his wife, Akie Abe.

Abe had appeared before Parliament where he denied his and his wife’s involvement in the scandal and said he would resign if he or his wife were shown to have intervened in the sale of the land.

The new ratings came after nearly 50,000 people demonstrated over the weekend in Tokyo against Abe’s government and demanded his resignation.

Koizumi said Abe could harm his Liberal Democratic Party’s chances in next summer’s upper house elections if he manages to cling on to the LDP presidency in a leadership election due in September.

Abe is also alleged to have used his influence to help a friend secure permission to open a veterinary school — claims he rejected. Last week, however, an official document emerged describing the veterinary school as “an issue that involves the Prime Minister”.