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Abe plans snap election in Japan amid Korea crisis
26 September 2017, 12:43 | Jenny Fowler
GETTYKim Jong-un has won praise it is claimed
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday called a snap poll and said the election in the country would be an appraisal of his handling of the economy.
In a national address Monday, Abe said he'll dissolve parliament's lower house on Thursday to "seek the mandate of the people immediately".
Although Mr. Abe did not set a date for the vote, Japanese media suggest it will be on October 22.
Turning to Asia, he also stated that North Korea's nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches are an unprecedented, grave and imminent threat to worldwide peace and security.
His image as a strong leader is thought to have bolstered support amid rising tensions over North Korea and has overshadowed allegations of cronyism that had eroded his popularity. The upcoming election was announced hours after Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo, announced the formation of a new party that could give conservative voters an alternative to Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP).
Abe is expected to hold a news conference after meeting with party executives and will likely put pledges to spend on education and child care, stay tough on North Korea and revise the constitution at the forefront of his campaign. The prime minister had been expected to face a grilling over the cronyism scandals during Thursday's session, and opposition party officials saw the move as play to avoid hard questions.
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He said his goal is for the ruling party to take over half of the seats of the lower house of parliament.
At the beginning, Prime Minister Abe expressed his intention to discuss pressing challenges facing both the Asian and African regions.
But Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University in Japan, said there was "no opposition worthy of the name in Japan". While highlighting his government's resolve to protect the people's lives and properties, he said, "North Korea's threats should never influence the election, which is the point of origin for democracy".
A number of prominent LDP and Democratic Party members have said that they will switch to the new movement.
"This is my responsibility as leader and my mission as prime minister". She said she will continue her gubernatorial duties alongside the party's activities. A total of 475 seats in the lower house will be up for grabs. 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.
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Reacting to the vote on 7 September, North Korea said the USA ought to "be beaten to death" for spearheading the penalties. He says the US keeps pressing Russian Federation and China to do more to squeeze Pyongyang economically.