Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe calls snap election

26 September, 2017, 00:44 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo Monday Sept. 25 2017. Prime Minister Abe announced Monday he will call a snap election for parliament's more powerful lower house

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called a snap general election a year early, meaning parliament will dissolve on Thursday.

Abe said he is calling the snap election because he chose to change the allocation of the increased revenues stemming from a planned hike in the consumption tax rate from 8 percent to 10 percent in October 2019.

Abe's image as a strong leader in response to these risks has overshadowed criticism from the opposition over scandals that had eroded his support.

Abe is expected to announce the election at 6 p.m. briefing in Tokyo. Also, opposition parties are regrouping and unprepared for an election. "By gaining a mandate from the people with this election, I will forge ahead with strong diplomacy", Abe said, adding that now was the time to put more pressure on Pyongyang, not open dialogue.

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Tokyo's governor, whose city grouping won a municipal assembly landslide in July, said her new party would be conservative and would push for transparency in government, women's advancement and elimination of nuclear energy.

While the opposition in Japan now seems divided and weak, Abe's critics say he runs the risk of alienating voters by playing politics at time when the country faces a serious security threat.

Florian Kohlbacher, North Asia director of the Economist Corporate Network, said Abe is also likely hoping to avoid any potential impact the abdication of the Emperor would have on an election next year.

Earlier this year, Abe set a 2020 deadline for changing Japan's pacifist constitution, which was imposed on it by the U.S. in the wake of World War II and bars the country from maintaining armed forces.

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Abe said he was seeking a fresh mandate to overcome "a national crisis" amid rising threats from North Korea.

Abe will seek backing for a ¥2-trillion ($18-billion) economic package, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Monday, without attribution.

Asked in a Kyodo News nationwide poll over the weekend which party would get their proportional representation vote, 27.0% said the LDP, 8.0% said the Democratic Party and 4.6% said Komeito.

"This is my responsibility as leader and my mission as prime minister". However, a similar number of Japanese voters - 42.5% - have said they're undecided going into next month's election. He won a Minami-Kanto proportional representation bloc seat in the previous lower house election. She said she will continue her gubernatorial duties alongside the party's activities.

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