Japan PM Abe calls snap election in October

Japan PM Shinzo Abe says time for North Korea dialogue is over

Mr Abe, who is the president of the ruling LDP, will seek a fresh mandate on his security polices amid growing North Korean threats as well as on welfare, pledging to review how to spend revenue from a consumption tax hike in 2019 for expanding child support and slow down the pace of paying down government debt.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday ordered his cabinet to compile new economic stimulus measures in a package worth around 2 trillion yen (13.13 billion pounds) by the end of the year.

The prime minister's plan to dissolve the lower house this week would "rather conveniently for some perhaps, [put] all these allegations on hold for a few weeks", said McBride.

However, at the weekend a poll from Nikkei showed Abe had the backing of 44% of voters, with other recent polls handing him over 50%, on the back of recent rising tensions with North Korea. Abe said that he will dissolve the lower house of Parliament and call elections in October.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, ahead of Abe's decision, reportedly announced that she would move to formulate a new national party called "Party of Hope" to challenge the Japanese PM.

Abe said the time for talking with North Korea is over because the Hermit Kingdom's leaders do not operate in good faith.




Despite a recent run of growth, the election victor will also have to contend with a sluggish economy, as the heavily indebted country grapples with a low birth rate and a shrinking labour force.

At the beginning, Prime Minister Abe expressed his intention to discuss pressing challenges facing both the Asian and African regions.

He said fostering human resources and improving productivity would be two pillars of his Cabinet's policies, adding that the government will compile a policy package worth 2 trillion yen (18 billion USA dollars) to boost support for child care and education.

The LDP and its junior coalition partner Komeito control 323 seats, or more than two-thirds, in the Lower House. The total number of seats is set to be cut to 465 in the next election as part of a reform aimed at reducing the excessive weight given to rural votes under the current system.

However, a further 42.2% of voters surveyed said they were undecided - which adds a degree of uncertainty to the outcome, with one analyst not ruling out a "nasty surprise" for Abe's ruling party.

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