Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, emboldened by a rebound in his approval ratings, said yesterday he will dissolve Parliament on Thursday for a snap election to be held next month.
Mr Abe's gambit comes amid escalating tensions over North Korea's missile and nuclear tests, and as China prepares for a crucial leadership transition that starts on Oct 18.
He is also taking advantage of an opposition in disarray, and which was quick to slam the snap election as "opportunistic".
The Prime Minister and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party are seeking a stronger mandate for his strategy to deal with the belligerent North Korean regime.
"The threat of North Korea cannot deter our democracy," he said.
Acknowledging that it would be a very difficult election, Mr Abe added: "I am ready for that."
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