Japanese PM Abe says election won't distract him from tackling North Korea

Kim Jong-un has won praise it is claimed

GETTYKim Jong-un has won praise it is claimed

Mr Abe officially announced his intention to dissolve the lower house at the beginning of the extraordinary Diet session starting September 28.

The election is to be held on October 22, with the official campaign season scheduled to begin on October 10, Kyodo news agency reported, citing Natsuo Yamaguchi, who leads junior coalition partner Komeito.

Abe rejected criticism that holding an election now would create a political vacuum at a time of rising tension over North Korea's missile and nuclear arms program.

A poll published in the Nikkei newspaper on Monday said Abe's LDP received 44 percent of support, compared to 8 percent for both Koike's group and the Democratic Party. She used a similar good-governance message to crush Abe's party in a local Tokyo election in July. He said Monday that he will dissolve parliament on Thursday.

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Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on Monday announced the creation of a new party which she will use to jump to politics at the national level.

Earlier this year, Abe set a 2020 deadline for changing Japan's pacifist constitution, which was imposed on it by the USA in the wake of World War II and bars the country from maintaining armed forces.

The Nikkei poll said 8 percent supported the new party, while 20 percent were undecided.

Because of the election, Finance Minister Taro Aso will likely forego the meeting of G20 finance ministers in Washington next month.

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A number of prominent LDP and Democratic Party members have said that they will switch to the new movement.

Although Abe is expected to triumph in the vote, there are question marks over whether he will retain the two-thirds parliamentary majority needed to reform the constitution to strengthen Japan's military, one of his stated priorities. He was the country's youngest prime minister when he first won the top job aged 52. A total of 475 seats in the lower house will be up for grabs. She has already said she does not support raising consumption tax.

Also on Sunday, Hosono said many voters believe it is risky to keep Abe in power and do not see the existing opposition parties as realistic alternatives.

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