Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has called a snap national election and will dissolve the country's parliament later this week as he seeks support for a new government push to revive the country's moribund economy.
Abe will seek to capitalize on the significant lead in opinion polls his LDP party commands over established rival Democrats and the newly-created Party of Hope in the October 22 vote, which will likely focus on the country's strained relations with North Korea and its flat-lining economy. He said Monday that he will dissolve parliament on Thursday.
Weekend polls in Japan's Nikkei business daily showed Abe's LDP holding at 44% support, more than five times the 8% tally notched by either the Democrats or Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike's Party of Hope. However, a similar number of Japanese voters -- 42.5% -- have said they're undecided going into next month's election.
Ahead of his snap election call, Abe ordered his Economy Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, to put together a ¥2 trillion ($17.8 billion) stimulus package that will pump new cash into preschool education and care for the elderly.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 closed 0.5% higher in an otherwise weak session for Asia stocks, extending its two-week advance to around 6% as speculation of Abe's election ploy began to surface.
Japan's economy grew at a 2.5% annual clip in the three months ending in June, according to revised government readings, its sixth consecutive quarterly advance, although private consumption, which makes up around two-thirds of the growth rate, remains stuck at 0.8%.
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