Japanese Prime Minister calls snap election

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.

On Monday, just hours before Abe's election announcement, Tokyo Governor Koike said she would lead a new conservative, reform-minded "Party of Hope" to offer voters an alternative to the LDP. Another survey by Kyodo News published last Sunday showed the LDP with a more than three-to-one margin against its closest rival, with 42 percent still undecided.

"The nonproliferation regime is about to suffer a serious blow from its most confident disrupter ever", Abe said, criticizing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who is the chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea. "Economically, the world is making a big move while Japan's presence is gradually declining", said Koike.

In the previous 2014 election, he lost to Kenji Eda, former deputy president of the main opposition Democratic Party, in the No. 8 constituency of Kanagawa Prefecture.

"Can we continue letting (the existing lawmakers) handle politics?"

"Japan is facing a hard time considering the situation in North Korea". Also, opposition parties are regrouping and unprepared for an election.

Should he secure a fourth term in office, Abe's agenda would push forward a raise in sales taxes to 10% from 8%, the revenue from which would be directed into child care and education spending rather than working to pay off the country's debt.

"I want people's support". With regard to peace and stability in Africa, the Prime Minister reviewed the contributions of Japan, such as the deployment of the Japan Self-Defense Force engineering unit to South Sudan and its support for peacekeeping training centers in Africa. The increase in Abe's ratings may help him retain his coalition's two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament.

"Despite the seemingly favourable backdrop for Abe, there are risks in calling a snap election", said Yoel Sano, an analyst at BMI research. Abe demanded the strict implementation of United Nations sanctions on Kim Jong-Un's regime, the latest round of which includes a ban on the country's textile exports and a freeze on work permits to North Korean guest workers. He was the country's youngest prime minister when he first won the top job aged 52.

  • Eleanor Harrison