Japan PM Abe dissolves lower house, calls snap election

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday dissolved the more powerful lower chamber of Japan’s bicameral parliament to hold the general election as soon as it convened for an extraordinary session.

The general election will be held on October 22, with official campaigning set to start on October 10.

This is not the first time that Prime Minister Abe has decided to dissolve the Japanese Diet. He had dissolved the lower house of parliament in November 2014, and thereafter, led the LDP and its junior Komeito coalition ally to a sweeping victory in the election in December.

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Recently, his Liberal Democratic Party suffered a devastating loss in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly race in July.Moreover, his cabinet’s popular approval rating has plunged to its worst levels, and it almost looked as if the days of his administration might be numbered, The Japan Times reported.

Abe said the dissolution of the lower house and the calling of a snap election is in essence to seek a mandate for his policies to address Japan’s rapidly aging society, falling birth rate and issues of security-related to tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

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The prime minister recently unveiled a 2 trillion yen (17.8 billion US dollars) policy package to be paid for by an allocation of revenue generated from a tax hike slated for 2019, to service ballooning social welfare costs.

Thursday’s dissolution marks the fourth time that the lower chamber has been dissolved on the day the Diet has convened in the post-war period.


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