(Bloomberg) -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will appear before a parliamentary ethics committee as he seeks to turn the page on a ruling party slush-fund scandal that has undermined his support months ahead of a leadership vote. 

If the appearance goes ahead as scheduled from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, it would be the first by a sitting prime minister, the Nikkei newspaper said. Kishida is betting a personal appearance will help dispel public perceptions he hasn’t done enough to clean house. 

“I myself as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party will appear and fulfill my responsibility to explain in front of the media,” Kishida told reporters Wednesday. 

While Kishida is not the focus of the scandal, several members of his cabinet and LDP senior executives have stepped down or been removed from their posts due to allegations they failed to declare funds.

The schedule for the sessions had been delayed by a deadlock over whether they would be kept behind closed doors. Hearings of the ethics panel are in principle held in private but can be made public when the attendees agree, Kyodo News reported.

Two of the cabinet ministers who were replaced over the scandal — former trade minister Yasutoshi Nishimura and former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno — will be present at sessions on Friday, according to an official in parliament.

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The share of voters saying they do not support the cabinet reached its highest since 1947 in a poll by the Mainichi newspaper this month, with many respondents to a series of surveys saying they are dissatisfied with Kishida’s attempts to tackle the problem of undeclared income. A separate scandal over LDP links to a fringe religion has also weighed on support. 

Adding to his woes, the economy unexpectedly slipped into recession, data showed earlier this month, a development that could further undermine public support. 

The ethics committee sessions come ahead of a September election for leadership of the LDP, which could see Kishida ousted in favor of a more popular candidate. No general election need be held until 2025 and opposition parties have failed to capitalize on Kishida’s woes, with their support rates mostly limited to single figures. 

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