Japan PM Abe calls snap election in October

Kim Jong-un celebrates a missile launch

AFP GETTYKim Jong-un celebrates a missile launch

Japanese Prime Minister Shinz┼Ź Abe is apparently trying to take advantage of his relatively high approval ratings by calling a snap election.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today declared the time for dialogue with North Korea is over and rallied behind a U.S. warning that "all options" are on the table. "I hope to gain the confidence of the people in the upcoming election and push forward strong diplomacy", he said Monday.

Shortly before Abe told LDP members of his dissolution plan, Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike said she is establishing a new national-level political party called the "Kibo" (Hope) party.

Mr Yamaguchi said he had not discussed with Abe a specific goal for the election, but they "would need to at least secure a majority as the ruling coalition in order to maintain this administration". South Korean President Moon Jae-in has repeatedly called on North Korea to enter into dialogue over its nuclear program.

A weekend survey showed that 44% of voters planned to vote for Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, against just 8% for the opposition Democratic Party.

Abe said he is calling the snap election because he made a decision 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.

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

President Trump's recent threat to totally destroy North Korea if attacked, and the escalating war of words between the leaders of the US and North Korea, have heightened these concerns for many.

A large majority of respondents - 78.8% - also said they were unhappy with the government's explanation of the land-sale scandal.

This "may seem normal in Japan but from overseas, it is hard to understand", Yora told AFP.

The electorate increasingly appears to suffer from Abe fatigue.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stepped up his rhetoric against North Korea in a speech to the United Nations, saying Kim Jong Un was getting away with worse behaviour than any dictator since the end of the Cold War.

Abe was the first world leader to cultivate close relations with US President Donald Trump, meeting the tycoon in Trump Tower even before he was inaugurated.

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