Economy

Japanese Prime Minister Abe May Call Snap General Election, NHK Reports

Japanese Prime Minister Abe May Call Snap General Election, NHK Reports”

TOKYO-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hinted Monday that he would call an election for the powerful lower house of Parliament, taking advantage of opposition disarray to seek a vote of support for his close alliance with President Donald Trump on North Korea.

Shinzo Abe told colleagues in the ruling conservative coalition yesterday that he was considering dissolving parliament on September 28, with an election to follow on October 22 or 29, according to local media, who say he will decide on Friday after the United Nations general assembly meetings in NY.

The phone conversation took place while Abe was in Russian Federation, a senior ruling party official said.

"I'll refrain from answering each and every question about a dissolution of parliament, but I'd like to decide when I return to Japan", Abe told reporters at Haneda airport before boarding a plane to NY, in comments broadcast by NHK.

Loss of the two-thirds grip would dim prospects Abe can achieve his controversial goal of revising Japan's pacifist constitution to clarify the military's role.

The opposition camp has criticized Abe, however, with some accusing the Japanese leader as trying to escape from the influence-peddling scandals he is now implicated in and trying to stay in power.

Even so, some members of Mr Abe's party are more sceptical.

A snap election may speed up the formation of a new national political party linked to Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to face Mr Abe's LDP, according to NHK, citing comments by lawmaker Masaru Wakasa.

Abe appears increasingly inclined to call an election amid a recovery in public support following a spate of scandals, public broadcaster NHK reported, without saying where it obtained the information.

"There is also a real chance that a snap election would lead to his undoing". He also plans to meet with other leaders.

Given that there is no need for a general election until late 2018, a snap poll could prompt criticism of Abe for creating a political vacuum at a time of rising tensions over regional security.

Akimasa Ishikawa, an LDP backbencher, said if Abe decides to call an election at the re-opening of parliament on September 28.it could be "good timing".

If Abe goes ahead with his plan to call a snap election, three by-elections that have been slated to take place on October 22 would be replaced by the general election.

Abe's ratings had sunk below 30 percent in some surveys in July, battered by suspected cronyism scandals and a perception that he had grown arrogant after more than four years in office.



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