I once argued that the precipitous drop in public support for Prime Minister. Abe was media-driven and implied (stated explicitly? Too lazy to check) that much of it would have been avoidable if he'd played his cards correctly. My (decidedly minority) contention is being rendered moot by the day: in politics, unlike the physical world, perception becomes reality. Whichever came first, Mr. Abe is increasingly seen as a resistible figure. The cabinet minister for self-defense can repeatedly talk in contradiction of what must be surely Mr. Abe's wishes, the foreign minister, and supposedly a hawk at that, spouts off about ceding half of the Northern Territories before the Russians have even agreed to come to the negotiating table, the party policy chief can't seem to keep his mind off/mouth shut on nuclear weapons, and every party leader and his cousin calls on Professor Honma to do the right thing. And the prime minister does not do a thing about any of this.
Think of this as a grade school classroom, where the teacher lets a couple of kids roam, mess with their classmates, and before you know it it's too late none of the kids notice the teacher yelling what with the noise and confusion. But there's no place to transfer your kids to, because the other school across the street is in permanent recess.
The lack of an attractive alternative is actually dangerous for the LDP. Slack encourages flab.
(Sidebar: I'll spare you the details, but all the relevant facts concerning the Professor Honma mess coulda/shoulda/woulda been confirmed within hours of breaking news. I don't understand at all how this had to be dragged out over weeks. Mr. Abe needs an Isao Iijima.)