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

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

The 475-seat House of Representatives will be dissolved Thursday, Abe announced, and campaigns to refill them will start October 10 - and elections are reportedly set for October 22.

"By holding an election at a time like this, I would like to test our public mandate on actions against North Korea", Abe said.

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

Support ratings for Mr Abe's government have begun to rebound as attacks on its cronyism scandals have faded during parliament's recess, while opposition parties are regrouping.

Kyodo reported that its survey conducted over the weekend showed 27 percent of respondents saying they would vote for Abe's LDP, compared with 8 percent for the Democratic Party.

Some 42.2% said they have yet to decide which party to vote for, while 6.2% said they would support the new party being organized by the Koike camp - although this was before she announced that she would be its leader.

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Sakie Yokota, the 81-year-old mother of Megumi, who was abducted in November 1977, welcomed Abe's speech, in which he called for the return of the abductees by mentioning her daughter by name. Besides the North Korea crisis, the polls also come at a time when the country is facing a sluggish economy which needs a boost. 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 a time of national crisis over North Korea, Japanese voters may see it as a "cynical and opportunistic move" created to divert attention from the scandals that weighed on Abe's popularity, warned Sano.

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

Abe, the third generation of a powerful political family, appeared to be groomed for power from an early age.

The stimulus package may be a way to attract voters during the campaign.

Analysts believe that given the lacklustre opposition, voter backlash would not hurt him to the extent that it did British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose gamble in June cost her party its majority.



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