Tokyo Governor Koike to challenge Japanese PM Abe with new party

26 September, 2017, 00:48 | Author: Sherri Guerrero
  • Abe cabinet member defecting to join new opposition party

Abe spoke at a press conference to announce his plan to dissolve parliament on Thursday and call a snap election.

Abe said he is calling the snap election because he made a decision to change the allocation of the increased revenues stemming from a planned hike in the consumption tax rate from 8 percent to 10 percent in October 2019.

The move comes amid heightened tensions over North Korea's missile and nuclear tests, and just weeks ahead of a crucial leadership transition in China.

Abe's approval ratings have climbed as North Korea has fired missiles over Japan, focusing the public on security issues instead of conflict-of-interest scandals that have damaged his image. Gov. Koike is launching a new political party to challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling party in national elections that are expected next month. Also, opposition parties are regrouping and unprepared for an election.

"I will dissolve the House of Representatives on the 28th", he said.

Both said they intend to join a party to be formed by lower house member Masaru Wakasa, who is close to Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.

Opposition lawmakers had said there was no need for new elections.

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Because of the election, Finance Minister Taro Aso will likely forego the meeting of G20 finance ministers in Washington next month.

Abe said he was seeking a fresh mandate to overcome "a national crisis" amid rising threats from North Korea.

The Yomiuri newspaper said earlier the funding would cover the three years from April 2018 until sales tax revenue kicks in.

As one of his policies, Abe announced a ¥2trn stimulus package on social spending and education, which will be paid for through his promise to raise consumption tax from 8% to 10% as planned in 2019, according to the BBC.

First elected to the lower house in 2005, Fukuda was defeated in the 2014 general election in his constituency in Kanagawa Prefecture but clung to a Diet seat on proportional representation.

A junior cabinet minister from the LDP, Mineyuki Fukuda, said over the weekend he would leave the ruling party to stand for election with Koike's new group.

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