Japan PM Abe announces $17.8 billion economic stimulus package

Japan PM Abe announces $17.8 billion economic stimulus package

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, Japan's longest-serving post-World War II prime minister, rose to political prominence on his calls for a tough line on North Korea over its past abductions of Japanese civilians.

Abe said before he left for NY to attend the U.N. General Assembly he would make a decision on whether to dissolve the lower house after returning home late Friday. Addressing the UN General Assembly, Abe said "there is not much time left" to take action on North Korea which in recent weeks has detonated another nuclear bomb and fired a series of missiles over or near Japan.

Hours before Mr Abe announced the October 22 election, Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo, and a woman often tipped to be Japan's first female prime minister, launched Kibo-no-to, or the Party of Hope, a national party building on her own election success in the capital.

Some of the election promises expected to be put forward include more spending on education and child care, revising the constitution and cracking down on North Korea. His three-year term as party leader ends next September, and he will have to fend off any challengers from within the LDP to remain prime minister.

Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday that countries need to unite to enforce sanctions and apply pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

He said fostering human resources and improving productivity would be two pillars of his Cabinet's policies, adding that the government will compile a policy package worth 2 trillion yen (18 billion USA dollars) to boost support for child care and education.

"For Mr. Abe, now is the time". Also, opposition parties are regrouping and unprepared for an election.

A scandal surrounding the government approval process for a school building project sent support ratings for Abe's Cabinet plunging in July.

But he was given a lower house seat in the southern Kanto bloc through proportional representation.

Asked in a Kyodo News nationwide poll over the weekend which party would get their proportional representation vote, 27.0% said the LDP, 8.0% said the Democratic Party and 4.6% said Komeito.

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