Japanese PM calls for snap election

The snap election decision marks the Prime Minister's attempt to take advantage of boosted opinion polls, as sentiment towards Abe has climbed off the back of his response to North Korea.

In contrast, China and Russian Federation have called repeatedly for a return to worldwide diplomacy and talks with North Korea to resolve the crisis over Pyongyang's weapons programs.

Recent escalating tensions with North Korea have reportedly resulted in a surge in the Japanese Prime Minister's rating after a series of scandals.

Mr Abe said: "I expect opposition criticism is going to focus on (the scandals), and it's going to be a very hard election".

Alongside the announcements are reports that Abe may be planning a snap general election.

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".

On Sept. 11, the UN Security Council unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea over its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, imposing a ban on the isolated nation's textile exports and capping imports of crude oil.

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He said he was seeking a fresh mandate to overcome "a national crisis" as the threat from North Korea grows. The prime minister did not give a date for the vote but it is widely expected to be October 22.

With the opposition in disarray, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike has announced that she will lead a "party of hope" to fight Abe's Liberal Democrats.

The dollar met with "heavy profit-taking pressure" around ¥112.50, an official at a major Japanese bank said.

A weekend survey by the Nikkei business daily survey showed 44 per cent of voters planned to vote for Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) versus eight per cent for the main opposition Democratic Party.

Abe wants to remove restrictions on the country's Self Defense Forces, the de facto military, as they engage in more exercises and other activity with United States and allies amid growing tensions with North Korea.

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

This "may seem normal in Japan but from overseas, it is hard to understand", Yora told AFP. With regard to peace and stability in Africa, the Prime Minister reviewed the contributions of Japan, such as the deployment of the Japan Self-Defense Force engineering unit to South Sudan and its support for peacekeeping training centers in Africa.


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