Japan PM Shinzo Abe says not thinking of calling a snap election

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's public support has been dragged to fresh lows by a series of scandals
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's public support has been dragged to fresh lows by a series of scandalsPHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday (April 26) that he was "not considering at all" calling a snap general election now, while pledging to do the utmost to clarify facts over scandals including document alterations related to a controversial sale of public land.

His denial comes a day after a ruling party official told reporters it was an option.

Abe's public support has been dragged to fresh lows by a series of scandals, which the opposition have used to delay legislative debate in parliament.

While no lower house election need be held for more than three years, a renewed mandate would potentially be a way for Abe to restore control over the political agenda and bolster his chances of winning a ruling party leadership election in September.

"Dissolving parliament for a general election is not in my mind at all," Abe told Parliament. "What is called for now is proper debate on policy, and carrying out the policies I promised last year," he said, referring to the previous general election in October.

The prime minister repeatedly denied he was considering going to the people before calling last year's poll.

Hiroshi Moriyama, chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Diet Affairs Committee, told reporters Wednesday that calling an election would be an option if the opposition submit a no-confidence motion against the cabinet.