Japan to go snap polls amid N Korea threats

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike holds the name of her Hope Party during a press conference at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office in Tokyo Monday Sept. 25 2017. Koike is launching a new political party to challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling part

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced he will dissolve the country's lower house of parliament and call elections next month. North Korea has test-fired two ballistic missile that flew over Japan in the last two weeks, acts which Abe has decried as "intolerable".

The Japanese Prime Minster, Shinzo Abe, has called for snap elections, a year before elections were expected.

"It is going to be a very, very hard election for us".

Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said in a Monday note prior to the confirmation of the snap election, that "members of the Abe administration and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party confirmed that there will be no progress on the IR Implementation Bill or the gambling addiction bill until next spring".

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.

Opposition lawmakers have said there is no need to hold an election now.

"He has been pushed into a corner by the scandals and he is afraid that once parliament is reconvened, he will face further questioning and another sharp drop in the polls".

The election is likely to be scheduled for next month.




Commentator Masao Yora says the vote could also "create a political vacuum" when strong leadership is most needed in the ongoing North Korea crisis.

Abe has served a total of nearly six years as prime minister: he had a truncated term a decade ago, coming back to power in a landslide in 2012.

"Japan is facing a hard time considering the situation in North Korea". They stated that North Korea's nuclear tests pose a direct challenge to the worldwide community, and expressed their strong support for Japan's position, including the complete implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.

Changing the constitution requires a two-thirds majority of both houses of the Diet and a national referendum.

"Abe himself is not a positive factor", Reed said.

As Mr Abe addressed reporters, more than 100 protesters gathered outside the Prime Minister's Office to demand his resignation. He won a Minami-Kanto proportional representation bloc seat in the previous lower house election.

A large majority of respondents - 78.8% - also said they were unhappy with the government's explanation of the land-sale scandal.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike announced on Monday - just hours ahead of Abe's news conference - that she would lead a new conservative, reform-minded "Party of Hope" to provide voters with an alternative to the LDP.

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