TOKYO, Oct 9 — Support for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government slid to the lowest of his one-year tenure on doubts about his party’s disclosure of ties to the controversial Unification Church, an opinion poll showed today.

Kishida has struggled to overcome revelations of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) deep and longstanding ties to the church in the wake of the July assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The suspected killer has said his mother was bankrupted by the church, which critics call a cult, and has blamed Abe for promoting it.

Support for Kishida’s cabinet slumped to 35 per cent from about 40 per cent a month ago in a weekend poll by Kyodo news, the lowest in the agency’s surveys since he took office in October 2021. About 48 per cent of respondents said they did not support his cabinet.

Some 83 per cent said the LDP had not done enough to disclose ties between the party’s lawmakers and the Unification Church, far eclipsing the 13 per cent who said it had.

The LDP has acknowledged many individual lawmakers have ties to the church but said there was no organisational link to the party. The staunchly anti-communist church says its political arm has courted lawmakers, mostly from the LDP because of their ideological proximity, although it has no direct affiliation to the party.

On rising prices of food, utilities and other necessities, about 79 per cent in the Kyodo survey said they had been hit, compared with about 21 per cent who had not felt any impact.

Japan’s inflation accelerated to a nearly eight-year high 2.8 per cent in August, the most recent data available, exceeding the central bank’s 2 per cent target for a fifth straight month as price pressure from raw materials and yen weakness broadened. — Reuters