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Japan — September 25, 2017
Shinzo Abe announced a snap election Monday, with the Japanese PM looking for a bigger mandate to tackle the “national crisis” of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Speaking in a televised address, Abe said the October 22 vote would be an assessment of his handling of the economy and the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. Tensions have escalated in recent months after Pyongyang launched two missiles that flew over Japan.
Abe’s strong tone in response has seen his polling numbers rise.
“Despite the seemingly favorable backdrop for Abe, there are risks in calling a snap election,” Yoel Sano, an analyst at BMI research, said. Minoru Morita, a veteran independent political analyst, told Reuters “Abe’s big gamble could yield a big surprise.”
According to a weekend poll by the Nikkei business daily survey, 44 percent of voters plan to vote for Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), compared to 8 percent for the main opposition Democratic Party. Some 20 percent of voters said they were undecided.
– David Gilbert
Read earlier updates from the VICE News Guide to the World: Week of September 18.