The approval rating for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Cabinet stood at 23.8 percent, up 3.7 percentage points from an all-time low that was logged in the previous poll last month amid a political funds scandal involving the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, a Kyodo News survey showed Monday.

The three-day telephone poll from Saturday also showed 78.4 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the LDP's decision not to punish Kishida, who doubles as LDP president, over the scandal.

The poll found that 93.3 percent did not believe that the LDP's own probe or parliamentary deliberations have clarified how the party's factions pooled secret funds for years and who was responsible.

The ruling party has come under scrutiny as some of its factions, including the largest one formerly led by the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, neglected to report portions of their incomes from fundraising parties and created slush funds for years.

Since the issue came to light late last year, it still remains unclear how and when the slush funds scheme started and why it was resumed after Abe decided to stop it in April 2022. Abe was assassinated during an election campaign in July 2022.

While the LDP punished a total of 39 members, including two heavyweights of the Abe faction who were urged to leave the party, 65.5 percent said the disciplinary action was light.

The latest Kyodo News survey was conducted days after Kishida's official state visit to the United States, during which he agreed with President Joe Biden to bolster the bilateral security alliance and gave a speech to Congress.

A majority of the respondents, at 56.6 percent, had a positive view of the outcome of the summit talks, while 36.8 percent were negative, the survey showed.

Kishida had hoped his successful U.S. trip would lift his approval rating and help put him in a better position to dissolve the House of Representatives for a snap election before his term as the LDP president expires in September, according to people close to him.

The present four-year term of lower house members will expire in October 2025, unless Kishida dissolves the chamber.

But the Kishida Cabinet's approval rating remained below 30 percent, a threshold widely recognized as the "danger level" for a government, for the sixth consecutive survey.

Asked about the desired outcome of the next general election, 50.5 percent of the respondents wanted parliamentary forces of the ruling and opposition camps to be closely matched.

The survey called 506 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 3,583 mobile phone numbers. It yielded responses from 425 household members and 624 mobile phone users.

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