Dollar firmer above ¥112 ahead of Abe's anticipated call for general election

Posted September 26, 2017

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Monday he will call an early election for parliament's more powerful lower house for next month.

Mr Abe said: "I expect opposition criticism is going to focus on (the scandals), and it's going to be a very hard election".

Mr Abe did not set a date for the vote but Japanese media suggest it will be on 22 October.

Mr Abe officially announced his intention to dissolve the lower house at the beginning of the extraordinary Diet session starting September 28.

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On its website, the USGS said that it "cannot conclusively confirm at this time the nature ( natural or human-made) of the event". It imposes a 180-day ban on vessels and aircraft that have visited North Korea from visiting the US.

Despite Abe's recent popularity, an LDP internal survey showed that seats for the prime minister's party and coalition partner Komeito could drop to 280 from 323 in the election, the newspaper Nikkei reported on Saturday.

Mineyuki Fukuda, state minister of the Cabinet Office, said Sunday that he will quit the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to join a party to be created by an aide to Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.

"Now is the time to apply pressure", Abe told a gathering of investors at the New York Stock Exchange, remarks he later reiterated in an address to the annual United Nations General Assembly.

But Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University in Japan, said there was "no opposition worthy of the name in Japan".

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Analysts believe that given the lacklustre opposition, voter backlash would not hurt him to the extent that it did British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose gamble in June cost her party its majority.

Support ratings for his government plunged to below 30 percent in July following repeated parliamentary questions about allegations that Abe helped his friend obtain approval for a veterinary college.

A latest poll stated that Abe's LDP party received a total of 44 percent of support in comparison to 8 percent support for the main opposition Democratic Party and Koike's group.

Her announcement put an end to weeks of speculation about the outcome of negotiations between Masaru Wakasa, an independent lower house lawmaker and ally to Ms Koike, and defectors from other parties, including Goshi Hosono, a former environment minister who recently left the Democratic Party.

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Also on Tuesday, police also used tear gas to disperse supporters of the ruling party protesting outside the Supreme Court. Kenyatta says his criticism of the Chief Justice should not be viewed as an attack on Maraga's Kisii community .