April 21, 2018

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe calls snap election next month

26 September 2017, 12:30 | Simon Arnold

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe calls snap election next month

Over 60% disagree with Abe's plan to dissolve lower house: Kyodo poll

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to call a snap election at a news conference this evening at 7pm AEST, according to a Reuters report.

The Yomiuri Shimbun/The Japan NewsPrime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday announced he will dissolve the House of Representatives at the beginning of the extraordinary Diet session to be convened Thursday.

A poll by the Kyodo news agency found that nearly two-thirds of Japanese voters are opposed to Abe holding a snap election, and that 42 percent of the electorate is undecided about whom to support.

The Japanese yen, an instinctive safe haven for currency traders, spiked after North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong-ho accused the U.S. of declaring war.

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.

Weekend polls in Japan's Nikkei business daily showed Abe's LDP holding at 44% support, more than five times the 8% tally notched by either the Democrats or Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike's Party of Hope.

The capital's leader defected from the Liberal Democratic Party, then thrashed it in a July election for the metropolitan assembly.

"Despite the seemingly favourable backdrop for Abe, there are risks in calling a snap election", said Yoel Sano, an analyst at BMI research. "North Korea has conducted evil acts - not only regarding nuclear and missile development, but also on human rights and humanitarian points of view", she said. "Can we continue letting [the existing lawmakers] handle politics?"

He said his goal was for his coalition to retain a majority in the chamber.

"Japan is facing a hard time considering the situation in North Korea".

"The threat of North Korea can not deter our democracy", Mr Abe said.

"North Korea is attempting to dismiss with a smirk the efforts towards disarmament we have assiduously undertaken over the years", Abe said.

Abe wants to "decisively change" the policy so that the increased portion will be appropriated for investment in helping child-rearing generations and the expansion of social security programs, he stressed.

The stimulus package may be a way to attract voters during the campaign.

But in the face of North Korea's continued threatening behavior, the Japanese public has increasingly coalesced in favor of the conservative prime minister's strong defensive posture.

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