Japanese PM Shinzo Abe plans snap election as ‘strongman’ ratings surge

Japan’s prime minister is planning to call a snap general election, gambling that North Korean aggression will rally the country around his vision of a more militarised nation.

Shinzo Abe told colleagues in the ruling conservative coalition yesterday that he was considering dissolving parliament on September 28, with an election to follow on October 22 or 29, according to local media, who say he will decide on Friday after the UN general assembly meetings in New York…

Mr Abe will seek to cast himself as a strong leader in the face of North Korean provocations, including the detonation of an underground nuclear device several times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb…

Nationalism is not normally a vote-winner in Japan, which remains broadly pacifist. But Mr Abe will be hoping the trauma wrought by dawn sirens warning children of missiles passing overhead will be enough to buy him another term as leader of the world’s third-biggest economy.

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