Japan's Abe announces plan to dissolve lower house for snap election
2017-09-27 09:09:00

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced at a press conference on Monday that he will dissolve the House of Representatives when it convenes Thursday to pave way for a general election next month.

The prime minister cited the need 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 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 also said that he would seek public support for a tougher stance over the Korea Peninsula issue.

Abe's decision to call for a snap election, however, has drawn staunch criticism from opposition parties, which argued that there is no reason to dissolve the lower house of parliament before its current term expires in December 2018.

"The tax hike won't happen until two years later. What has it to do with dissolving the lower house now?" said Seiji Maehara, leader of the largest opposition Democratic Party.

He added that the reason Abe cited for dissolving the lower house is not convincing, and that the prime minister is just trying to avoid further grilling on favoritism scandals.

Abe has been under fire for his connection with nationalist private school operator Moritomo Gakuen, which purchased a piece of state-owned land in Osaka for only a fraction of the market price.

He has also been accused of using his influence to make the government choose Kake Educational Institution, run by a close friend of Abe's, to open a new department in a government- designated special economic zone.

Source:Xinhua Editor:Amanda