Japan's PM Abe: Time for talk is over on North Korea

by Ben Pena September 26, 2017, 0:17
Japan's PM Abe: Time for talk is over on North Korea

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called early elections, citing the need for a new mandate in order to deal with the crisis on the Korean peninsula and for constitutional reform to strengthen the country's military.

Abe said before he left for NY to attend the U.N. General Assembly he would make a decision on whether to dissolve the lower house after returning home late Friday.

While the government and ruling coalition will now coordinate the timing of the Lower House election, indications are that it will likely be held on October 22.

Mr Abe's image as a strong leader has bolstered his ratings amid rising tension over North Korea's nuclear arms and missile programmes and overshadowed opposition criticism of the premier for suspected cronyism scandals that had eroded his support.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, ahead of Abe's decision, reportedly announced that she would move to formulate a new national party called "Party of Hope" to challenge the Japanese PM. What remains fresh in voters' minds was the revolving door of six prime ministers between 2006 and 2012 until Mr Abe took power.

Ryanair pilots reject cash offer
He dismissed talk of possible industrial action, including reported plans for a work-to-rule, saying: "There isn't a union". Such moves "should help stop the large number of colleagues who are leaving for "greener pastures" the letter said.

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. "Because of the situation that we now face, I want to hold an election in order to ask the public to make a decision on how the North Korean issue should be dealt with".

The prime minister also announced a 2tn yen ($17.8bn, £13.2bn) stimulus package on education and social spending.

Abe told a meeting of ruling party executives of his plans on Monday, the lawmaker said. Another survey by Kyodo News published last Sunday showed the LDP with a more than three-to-one margin against its closest rival, with 42 percent still undecided. The increase in Abe's ratings may help him retain his coalition's two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament.

But he was given a lower house seat in the southern Kanto bloc through proportional representation.


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