Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called a snap election a year ahead of schedule and said he will dissolve the country’s parliament on September 28.
Abe announced his decision in a news conference on September 25, citing a “national crisis” due to Japan’s ageing population, falling birth rates, and threats from an increasingly combative North Korea.
“I am determined to resolve what can be called a national crisis together with the public by concentrating my entire being and soul into this issue,” Abe said.
He also added that he was calling the election to obtain a clear mandate from the Japanese people about how to deal with North Korea.
“Elections that are the starting point of democracies should not be affected by any threats that may emerge from North Korea. Because of the situation that we currently face, I want to hold an election in order to ask the public to make a decision on how the North Korean issue should be dealt with,” said Abe.
The Japanese prime minister’s approval has been on the rise for two consecutive months and stood at 43.9 percent in September. His approval rate has jumped almost 10 points since a personal historic low of 34.2 percent approval in July.
Although Abe did not specify an electoral date, Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun claims it is likely to take place on October 22.