Shinzo Abe is about to call a snap election in Japan

Shinzo Abe is about to call a snap election in Japan

Shinzo Abe is about to call a snap election in Japan

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.

The 475-seat House of Representatives will be dissolved Thursday, Abe announced, and campaigns to refill them will start October 10 - and elections are reportedly set for 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 global peace and security.

The Democratic Party and other opposition parties have started advancing their preparation for the election, exploring the possibility of promoting electoral cooperation to counter the ruling bloc.

Abe announced on Monday that he would dissolve parliament later this week, more than a year before its term expires.

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The prime minister said that the new initiative would be funded by revenue generated by a consumption tax hike that has been delayed until 2019.

Earlier this year, Abe set a 2020 deadline for changing Japan's pacifist constitution, which was imposed on it by the United States in the wake of World War II and bars the country from maintaining armed forces. He needs a combined 233 seats in the lower house for the ruling LDP and its junior coalition partner Komeito.

Ishiba is a probable challenger for Abe next year, along with Fumio Kishida, who left the cabinet for a role as party policy chief last month.

Some critics say that Abe has risked creating a political vacuum at a time when geo-political tensions over North Korea are rising.

A Kyodo News poll published Sunday had some good news for the Prime Minister, with almost 30% saying they would vote for his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), versus 8% for the main opposition Democratic Party. He was the country's youngest prime minister when he first won the top job aged 52. Reforms enacted a year ago will cut the number of lower house seats to 465 from 475. However, a similar number of Japanese voters - 42.5% - have said they're undecided going into next month's election.

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