Japan's Abe Triggers Early Elections

Kim Jong-un has won praise it is claimed

Kim Jong-un has won praise it is claimed

The popular approval ratings for Abe's administration, whose plunge to their worst levels just a few months ago appeared to make an imminent election impractical, have quickly recovered.

Abe's speech came a day after President Donald Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if it attacks the US or its allies.

"If he loses a significant number of seats, particularly with the opposition in the midst of a significant reorganization, Mr. Abe will have only reinforced the impression that his time is up", wrote Tobias Harris (paywall), a fellow at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation in Washington DC.

Japan's prime minister has called a snap election, Shinzo Abe believes it'll help to support for his hard line against North Korea's knot.

Abe is arranging to unveil the tax incentives at a news conference on Monday at which he is also expected to announce a snap election next month, the sources said on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to media.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced an early election to capitalize on rising public support for his hard-line stance against the North Korean nuclear and missile threat.

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Opposition parties have criticised the vote as a way for Abe's to avoid recent scandals, including allegations of cronyism, which representatives promised to address on Thursday.

With North Korea's missiles now regularly overflying Japan, the Prime Minister sees a chance for a rattled populace to embrace his long-sought revisions to the pacifist constitution.

Rumours began to circulate last week that Abe could call a snap election and it is now confirmed that the Prime Minister will look to take advantage of his high opinion polls.

He said fostering human resources and improving productivity would be two pillars of his Cabinet's policies, adding that the government will compile a policy package worth 2 trillion yen (18 billion US dollars) to boost support for child care and education.

Should he secure a fourth term in office, Abe's agenda would push forward a raise in sales taxes to 10% from 8%, the revenue from which would be directed into child care and education spending rather than working to pay off the country's debt. It said 42.2 percent of the voters still remain undecided about the elections.

Abe's image as a strong leader in response to these risks has overshadowed criticism from the opposition over scandals that had eroded his support. 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.

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