Abe Announces Plan to Dissolve Lower House Amid Controversy
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced at a press conference on Monday that he will dissolve the House of Representatives when it convenes tomorrow to pave way for a general election.
The prime minister said that the snap election was called to seek a fresh mandate to overcome a national crisis caused by “the biggest challenge facing Japan, which is the population aging and low birthrate,” as well as security challenges.
He said that he would seek a mandate from the people for shifting the usage of part of the revenue generated by a consumption tax hike that has been delayed until 2019 from paying debt to welfare policies.
He said that fostering human resources and improving productivity would be two pillars of his Cabinet’s policies, adding that the government would compile a policy package worth US$18 billion (F$36bn) by the end of this year to boost support for child care and education.
The policy package would include measures to make preschool education and day care services free for children aged between three and five and reduce the financial burdens for higher education, according to Abe.
He also said that he would seek public support for a tougher stance over the Korea Peninsula issue. Regarding the recent favoritism scandals that brought down his support ratings, Abe said he expects a “tough election” with harsh criticisms from opposition parties.
He said he would call the election a success if the ruling bloc could take over half of the seats of the lower house of parliament.
Abe’s decision to call for a snap election has drawn staunch criticism from opposition parties, which accused the prime minister of fleeing from cronyism accusations.
Abe has been under fire for his connection with nationalist private school operator Moritomo Gakuen, which purchased a piece of stateowned land in Osaka for only a fraction of the market price.
The snap election is slated for Octo-
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.