The support rate for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Cabinet fell to a fresh low of 22.3 percent and that for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party slid below 30 percent for the first time since it returned to power more than a decade ago, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday, amid a growing political fundraising scandal.

The Cabinet approval rate dropped from 28.3 percent marked in early November, the previous record low, while the disapproval rate rose to a record high of 65.4 percent, according to the two-day nationwide telephone survey.

By political party, the support rate of the LDP came to 26.0 percent, a drop from 34.1 percent in the previous survey and the lowest level since December 2012, when the party scored a landslide victory in the general election to return to power, although the polling method has not always been the same.

The survey took place as the Kishida government, already reeling from sluggish support rates, suffered a fresh blow by allegations that the LDP's largest faction failed to declare hundreds of millions of yen of fundraising party revenue in political funding reports.

Japan's four newly appointed Cabinet ministers -- economic minister Ken Saito (far L), internal affairs minister Takeaki Matsumoto (2nd from L), Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi (2nd from R) and farm minister Tetsushi Sakamoto (far R) pose for a photo at the premier's office in Tokyo on Dec. 14, 2023, together with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (C) after attending an attestation ceremony with Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Despite Kishida replacing on Thursday all four ministers belonging to the faction, including the chief Cabinet secretary, 58.6 percent said they take the personnel change positively and 36.0 percent reacted negatively.

The poll also showed 75.0 percent think Kishida, who doubles as LDP president, lacks leadership in addressing the scandal, and 77.2 percent believe either that the ruling party has "no" or "not much" ability to get to the bottom of the allegations and prevent similar incidents from happening again.

A record-high 44.5 percent said they expect Kishida to step down "as soon as possible," signaling the headwinds the prime minister continues to face in steering the government after more than two years in office.

A total of 86.8 percent, meanwhile, called for imposing tougher controls on political funds.

The faction that is mostly under scrutiny is the group once led by the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but the Kishida faction, the fourth largest within the LDP, also faces allegations of unreported fundraising proceeds.

The LDP, which has been in power almost continuously since its establishment in 1955, has often been hit by money scandals. Notorious cases include the so-called Recruit bribery scandal in the late 1980s that involved unlisted shares, which resulted in the resignation of then Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita.

In the latest poll, the LDP continued to receive the highest backing among the political parties. The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan held a support rate of 9.3 percent, unchanged from the November survey, while the Japan Innovation Party saw an increase to 12.0 percent from 9.3 percent.

The support rate for LDP's coalition partner Komeito dropped to 3.0 percent, down from 4.7 percent. Respondents with no particular party affiliation stood at 29.1 percent, up from 27.3 percent.

The survey called 460 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 2,275 mobile phone numbers. It yielded responses from 414 household members and 614 mobile phone users.

On the 2025 World Exposition to be held in Osaka, which has been overshadowed by concern over ballooning costs, only 18.8 percent said the event should go as planned. More than 49 percent called for a scale-down, 22.5 percent sought cancellation and 7.8 percent hoped for a postponement.

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