Japan PM dissolves parliament for snap election

Japan PM dissolves parliament for snap election”

A survey by the Mainichi newspaper showed 18 percent of voters plan to vote for Koike's Party of Hope compared to 29 percent for Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Abe last dissolved the lower house of parliament in November 2014 and thereafter led the LDP and its junior Komeito coalition ally to a sweeping victory in the election in December.

Mr Abe is now perhaps hoping his electoral gamble is not destined to follow a similar fate to his British counterpart Theresa May, who suffered the humiliating loss of the Conservative Party's parliamentary majority in June's snap elections.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will seek a public mandate on his tougher diplomatic and defence policies to deal with escalating threats from North Korea.

"This election is about how we protect Japan, the people's lives and peaceful daily life", he said.

The dissolution of the more powerful of Japan's two-chamber parliament comes more than a year before required by law.

Recently, his Liberal Democratic Party suffered a devastating loss in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly race in July.Moreover his cabinet's popular approval ratings has plunged to its worst levels, and it nearly looked as if the days of his administration might be numbered, The Japan Times reported.

"By repeating mutual visits, I would like to advance overall Japan-China relations", Abe said, apparently in hopes of enlisting Beijing's help in dealing with North Korea. "If her party does better than expected, expect the long knives to come out in the LDP, and Abe could be ushered to the exit".

Koike said at a news conference on Thursday that "I will stay in the city and put my energy to lead Tokyo's preparations ahead of the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics". It was the first time in 15 years that a sitting Japanese leader attended the event - and the first time under the Abe government.

The election for the 475-seat lower house, the more powerful of Japan's two-chamber parliament, is expected on October 22.

Lower house members all stood up and chanted "banzai" three times in a dissolution ritual, then rushed out of the assembly hall.

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