Japan's PM Shinzo Abe calls snap election

Japan's PM Shinzo Abe calls snap election

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to compile a new economic stimulus package sized around 2 trillion yen by the end of this year, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Monday.

"I will dissolve the lower house on September 28", Premier Abe declared at a press conference.

While the government and ruling coalition will now coordinate the timing of the Lower House election, indications are that it will likely be held on October 22.

Mr Abe said he was seeking a fresh mandate to overcome "a national crisis" amid rising threats from North Korea. On that basis, Prime Minister Abe noted the importance of applying pressure at an unprecedented and new level on North Korea, and emphasized the need to fully implement the relevant Security Council resolutions, including the recently adopted Resolution 2375, in order to avoid any loopholes in the sanctions regime.

Some of the election promises expected to be put forward include more spending on education and child care, revising the constitution and cracking down on North Korea.

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

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As Mr Abe addressed reporters, more than 100 protesters gathered outside the Prime Minister's Office to demand his resignation.

A latest poll stated that Abe's LDP party received a total of 44 percent of support in comparison to 8 percent support for the main opposition Democratic Party and Koike's group.

Analysts believe that given the lacklustre opposition, voter backlash would not hurt him to the extent that it did British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose gamble in June cost her party its majority.

Some 42.2% said they have yet to decide which party to vote for, while 6.2% said they would support the new party being organized by the Koike camp - although this was before she announced that she would be its leader.

But Mr Abe faces a new challenge from a former LDP cabinet member, current Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, who earlier on Monday announced she was forming a new national political party.

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. It has set a comparatively low bar of securing a simple majority of at least 233 of the 465 seats at stake.

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