Scandals don’t sink Japan’s leader as he eyes his place in the history books

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TOKYO — Only a few months ago, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared to be in danger of losing his job as a series of cronyism scandals dragged his popularity to perilous lows.

To make matters worse, President Donald Trump was ratcheting up trade tensions with Japan, a long-term security ally, exposing the fragility of a personal relationship that Abe had worked hard to establish since Trump was elected in 2016.

Yet Abe is on the cusp of a remarkable political recovery. After stabilizing his position in opinion polls, he has emerged as the clear front-runner in a party leadership vote due next month, according to experts.