Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been bypassed by recent developments on the Korean peninsula, but appears eager to play a role in talks with North Korea in coming weeks. Photo: Reuters/ Kim Kyung-Hoon

Nikkei business daily ran a headline on Monday describing the “arrogance, complacency, fragility” of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration.

The headline comes as the pro-Abe Yomiuri newspaper found support for Abe’s government had fallen to a record low 36%.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with policy,” Gerry Curtis, professor emeritus at New York’s Columbia University was quoted by Reuters as saying.

“It’s all about the arrogance of Abe and [Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide] Suga and the sense that they are riding roughshod … to break unstated rules of the game.”

Tobias Harris, a Japan analyst at Teneo Intelligence in Washington, was quoted by the Financial Times: “The Yomiuri poll suggests that the public’s trust in Abe — including LDP supporters — is collapsing. The cabinet reshuffle scheduled for next month already seems like too little, too late.”

“I think it’s an increasingly open question whether Abe will even be in a position to run again in 2018, assuming he survives that long — especially if Kishida continues to look and act like a prime minister in waiting,” said Mr Harris.

“We have no choice but to change our leader,” former administrative reform minister Seiichiro Murakami, an LDP lawmaker, said in an interview last week. Murakami blamed Japan’s Premier, and said it would be “impossible” for Abe to restore confidence, reports Bloomberg.