Japan's lower house to be dissolved, PM tells party

Japan's lower house to be dissolved, PM tells party

Troy Powers
September 26, 2017

"I will dissolve the House of Representatives on the 28th of September, Abe told reporters, a precursor to a general election".

Abe will seek to capitalize on the significant lead in opinion polls his LDP party commands over established rival Democrats and the newly-created Party of Hope in the October 22 vote, which will likely focus on the country's strained relations with North Korea and its flat-lining economy.

North Korea fired a missile on Friday that flew over Hokkaido in northern Japan and landed far out into the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese and South Korean officials, further ratcheting up tensions in the region. He said Monday that he will dissolve parliament on Thursday.

Despite Abe's recent popularity, an LDP internal survey showed that seats for the prime minister's party and coalition partner Komeito could drop to 280 from 323 in the election, the newspaper Nikkei reported on Saturday.

The North Korea crisis appears to have given the hawkish Abe a welcome boost in the polls following a series of scandals, including allegations he improperly favoured a friend in a business deal.

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Abe has served as Japan's prime minister for almost six years.

Mr Yamaguchi said he had not discussed with Abe a specific goal for the election, but they "would need to at least secure a majority as the ruling coalition in order to maintain this administration".

Koike, a former minister in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, could now pose a challenge to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the next elections, after her regional Tomin First Party swept the metropolitan assembly elections in July, reports Efe news.

Analysts believe that given the lacklustre opposition, voter backlash would not hurt him to the extent that it did British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose gamble in June cost her party its majority.

The ruling coalition now controls 68 percent of seats in the 475-member Lower House, including 288 for the LDP and 35 for its coalition partner Komeito, according to the parliamentary web site. Reforms adopted a year ago will cut the number of lower house seats to 465 from 475.