Abe's party has tiny chance at parliamentary elections

It seems that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's scandal-ridden ruling party will lose upcoming parliamentary elections later this month for more people plan to vote for the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, according to an opinion poll released Monday.

National daily Asahi said 30 percent of respondents to its July 14-15 poll said they would vote for the DPJ while 23 percent said they would vote for Abe's Liberal Democratic Party.

In a July 7-8 poll, support for the DPJ was at 26 percent and 22 percent for the LDP.

In the latest poll, the disapproval rate for Abe's ruling coalition was 55 percent, up from 51 percent in the previous poll and a record high since Abe took office last September, the paper said. The approval rate was 30 percent, down from 31 percent.

The popularity of Abe's government has dropped since his Cabinet has been hit by a series of scandals and departures.

The latest results bode ill for Abe ahead of the July 29 elections. Half of the 242 seats in the parliament's less-powerful upper chamber will be contested.

Electoral defeat would not immediately threaten the ruling coalition's hold on power because it has a commanding majority in the lower house. But a loss would cause embarrassment and likely prompt party leaders to force Abe from office.

Asahi conducted telephone interviews with 1,118 voters nationwide. No margin of error was provided.