April 24, 2018

Japan's Abe says he will call snap election for parliament

26 September 2017, 12:44 | Yvette Williams

GETTYNorth Koreans watched the missile launch from their country last week

North Koreans watch missiles

Japan's prime minister has called a snap election, Shinzo Abe believes it'll help to support for his hard line against North Korea's knot.

Abe said that he will dissolve the lower house of parliament and call elections next month.

Although Mr. Abe did not set a date for the vote, Japanese media suggest it will be on October 22.

Abe's approval ratings have climbed as North Korea has fired missiles over Japan, focusing the public on security issues instead of conflict-of-interest scandals that have damaged his image.

A Nikkei business daily survey showed 44 percent of voters plan to vote for Abe's Liberal Democratic Party versus 8 percent for the main opposition Democratic Party.

Despite Abe's recent popularity, an LDP internal survey showed that seats for the prime minister's party and coalition partner Komeito could drop to 280 from 323 in the election, the newspaper Nikkei reported on Saturday. The prime minister had been expected to face a grilling over the cronyism scandals during Thursday's session, and opposition party officials saw the move as play to avoid hard questions.

India cross-border firing kills six Pakistani civilians
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"I will dissolve the House of Representatives on the 28th" of September, Abe told reporters, a precursor to a general election.

In this Jan 25, 2017 photo, Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike smiles during a press conference at the Tokyo Metropolitan government office in Tokyo.

Opposition lawmakers have said there is no need to hold an election now.

Because of the election, Finance Minister Taro Aso will likely forego the meeting of G20 finance ministers in Washington next month. On Monday, she reminded voters of the scandals that led Abe's government's support ratings to fall below 30 percent in July.

Aside from a pledge to stay tough on North Korea, Abe's also expected to announce a 2 trillion yen ($US17.8 billion) spending package with a focus on education and childcare. He was the country's youngest prime minister when he first won the top job aged 52.

After lashing out at Pyongyang over its repeated provocations, Abe stated: "Elections that are the starting point of democracies should not be affected by any threats that may emerge from North Korea". A total of 475 seats in the lower house will be up for grabs.

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