Tokyo Governor Koike to challenge Japanese PM Abe with new party

Kim Jong-un celebrates a missile launch

He could serve until 2021 if re-elected as party leader next year, making him the longest-serving prime minister in the country's history.

He denies allegations of cronyism and on Monday said dissolving the lower house was not an attempt at avoiding those allegations. Addressing the UN General Assembly, Abe said "there is not much time left" to take action on North Korea which in recent weeks has detonated another nuclear bomb and fired a series of missiles over or near Japan.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, ahead of Abe's decision, reportedly announced that she would move to formulate a new national party called "Party of Hope" to challenge the Japanese PM.

After lashing out at Pyongyang over its repeated provocations, Abe stated: "Elections that are the starting point of democracies should not be affected by any threats that may emerge from North Korea".

Despite a recent run of growth, the election victor will also have to contend with a sluggish economy, as the heavily indebted country grapples with a low birth rate and a shrinking labour force.

The Prime Minister also said he was seeking a mandate to funnel the revenues from the sales tax increase scheduled for October 2019 into increased spending on social security and education, instead of debt reduction.


A scandal surrounding the government approval process for a school building project sent support ratings for Abe's Cabinet plunging in July.

A new poll carried out by Japan's Kyodo news agency has shown that nearly two-thirds of voters are against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling a snap election.

Both the ruling and opposition parties have ramped up preparations for the expected election, drawing up their campaign pledges and promoting discussions over electoral cooperation among opposition forces.

Nevertheless, roughly a fifth of those canvassed by Nikkei answered that they had yet to make up their minds, meaning it was unclear whether Abe would be able to muster the two-thirds parliamentary majority he needed in order to pass a Constitutional reform. It has set a comparatively low bar of securing a simple majority of at least 233 of the 465 seats at stake.

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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