North Korea to be central theme of Abe campaign

Leigh Mccormick
September 26, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will send voters to the polls more than a year ahead of schedule after announcing snap elections for Japan's parliament.

Abe said he would be seeking a new mandate on his North Korea policy, as well as the use of tax revenue in the upcoming elections, which could take place next month.

Monday, Abe said the decision to dissolve parliament was aimed at resolving a "national crisis" that stems from rising tensions with North Korea. According to a weekend poll in business daily Nikkei, 44 per cent of voters plan to vote for Abe's conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), while only eight per cent favoured the main opposition Democratic Party. She used a similar good-governance message to crush Abe's party in a local Tokyo election in July.

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.

Opposition lawmakers had said there was no need for new elections.

A Kyodo news agency survey showed the LDP garnering a far lower 27.7 percent, with 42.2 percent of the electorate undecided.

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Because of the election, Finance Minister Taro Aso will likely forego the meeting of G20 finance ministers in Washington next month. While highlighting his government's resolve to protect the people's lives and properties, he said, "North Korea's threats should never influence the election, which is the point of origin for democracy".

At the beginning, Prime Minister Abe expressed his intention to discuss pressing challenges facing both the Asian and African regions. Meanwhile, it was "supported around ¥112" by firm stock prices, said an official at a foreign exchange brokerage house.

Abe will seek backing for a ¥2-trillion ($18-billion) economic package, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Monday, without attribution.

The LDP and its junior coalition partner Komeito control 323 seats, or more than two-thirds, in the Lower House.

Koike, who is a former member of Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, said that she would lead candidates across the nation.

First elected to the lower house in 2005, Fukuda was defeated in the 2014 general election in his constituency in Kanagawa Prefecture but clung to a Diet seat on proportional representation.

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