Japan's Abe says he will call snap election for parliament

Japan PM Shinzo Abe says time for North Korea dialogue is over

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has chose to call snap elections in the country, as he informed his coalition partner on Monday that he will dissolve the lower house of the parliament on September 20, reports state. He added that he would resign as Prime Minister if his party failed to win a majority.

Abe rejected criticism that holding an election would create a political vacuum at a time of rising tension over North Korea's missile and nuclear arms program.

Abe said at a news conference that he will dissolve the 475-seat chamber on Thursday when it convenes after a three-month summer recess. On that basis, Prime Minister Abe noted the importance of applying pressure at an unprecedented and new level on North Korea, and emphasized the need to fully implement the relevant Security Council resolutions, including the recently adopted Resolution 2375, in order to avoid any loopholes in the sanctions regime.

The prime minister said the snap election was called in an attempt "to deal with the biggest challenge facing Japan, which is the population aging and low birthrate".

He has also announced a new 2 trillion yen (£13.2 billion) stimulus package focused on debt reduction, education and social spending.

Despite a recent run of growth, the election victor will also have to contend with a sluggish economy, as the heavily indebted country grapples with a low birth rate and a shrinking labour force.

"I am against such threats", said Dr Merkel, who has been openly critical of Mr Trump in the run-up to Germany's election on Sunday.

Hours before Mr Abe announced the October 22 election, Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo, and a woman often tipped to be Japan's first female prime minister, launched Kibo-no-to, or the Party of Hope, a national party building on her own election success in the capital.

A scandal surrounding the government approval process for a school building project sent support ratings for Abe's Cabinet plunging in July. The same survey by Nikkei business daily showed 44 percent of voters planned to vote for the LDP.

The LDP and its junior coalition partner Komeito control 323 seats, or more than two-thirds, in the Lower House.

Her announcement put an end to weeks of speculation about the outcome of negotiations between Masaru Wakasa, an independent lower house lawmaker and ally to Ms Koike, and defectors from other parties, including Goshi Hosono, a former environment minister who recently left the Democratic Party.



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