Time for North Korea dialogue is over

Javier Howell
September 26, 2017

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.

Following her unexpected election earlier this year as Tokyo Governor - considered the second-most important political position in the country after the Prime Minister - Koike has increasingly been seen as a challenger to Abe at the national level.

The election will be held it is thought October 22.

He said his goal is for the ruling party to take over half of the seats of the lower house of parliament.

Mr Abe said the tax hike revenue will be used to fund that plan, but insisted the government will look to rebuild the country's finances at the same time.

Abe has served a total of nearly six years as prime minister: he had a truncated term a decade ago, coming back to power in a landslide in 2012.

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.

He has also announced a new 2 trillion yen (£13.2 billion) stimulus package focused on debt reduction, education and social spending.

But Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University in Japan, said there was "no opposition worthy of the name in Japan".

It moved modestly above ¥112 later as traders were awaiting Abe's news conference as well as a speech by Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley later in the day.

A scandal surrounding the government approval process for a school building project sent support ratings for Abe's Cabinet plunging in July.

The Nikkei poll was far more positive for Mr Abe's prospects than a Kyodo news agency survey that put his LDP on 27.7%, with 42.2% undecided.

The ruling coalition now controls 68 percent of seats in the 475-member Lower House, including 288 for the LDP and 35 for its coalition partner Komeito, according to the parliamentary web site.

The snap election, which the opposition slammed as "opportunistic", has been couched by Mr Abe and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as necessary to preempt a "national crisis", and as a mandate for his strategy to raise pressure on the belligerent North.

But he was given a lower house seat in the southern Kanto bloc through proportional representation.

Other reports by Insurance News

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