Photo/IllutrationThe Asahi Shimbun

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Support for the Abe Cabinet fell to 41 percent, the lowest level since the July 2016 Upper House election, in the latest Asahi Shimbun poll taken as the Kake Educational Institution scandal rumbled on.

According to the nationwide telephone survey conducted on June 17 and 18, the approval rate had dropped from 47 percent in the previous Asahi Shimbun poll of May 24-25. Those who do not support the Cabinet rose from 31 percent to 37 percent.

Many voters were dissatisfied with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s explanations about the government process to approve a new veterinary medicine faculty planned by the Kake Educational Institution, which is headed by one of his long-time friends.

Sixty-six percent of the respondents said Abe's explanations are “not convincing,” while 18 percent said they are “convincing.”

The Cabinet’s support rate has been on the decline since the beginning of this year. The latest figure compares with 54 percent recorded in a January survey.

Among unaffiliated voters, who account for nearly half of the respondents, only 19 percent support the Cabinet, while the disapproval rate was 49 percent among them.

The poll also shows that the female respondents who support the Abe Cabinet, 36 percent, were outnumbered by the women who oppose it: 38 percent.

Under the Random Digit Dialing method, both landline and mobile telephone numbers were selected at random by computer and contacted.

Among the 1,979 households with at least one eligible voter who were contacted on their landline, 992 people, or 50 percent, gave valid responses.

Of the 2,153 mobile phone numbers belonging to eligible voters, 1,006, or 47 percent, gave valid responses.