02:50 GMT +316 October 2019
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    Lawmakers raise their hands and shouts banzai (cheers) after the dissolution of lower house was announced at the Parliament in Tokyo, Japan

    Japanese Emperor Dissolves Lower House of Parliament Ahead of Snap Vote

    © REUTERS / Toru Hanai
    Asia & Pacific
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    On Monday Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he intended to dissolve the lower house of parliament one year before scheduled elections. Prime minister apparently seeks to capitalize on the weak positions of the Democratic party and to consolidate his influence in the country amid increasing threats from North Korea.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) — Japan’s lower house speaker Tadamori Oshima on Thursday read out an order given by Emperor Akihito to dissolve the House of Representatives ahead of a snap election.

    "The lower house has been dissolved in line with Article 7 of the Constitution," Oshima said at a televised plenary meeting of the national bicameral parliament, the National Diet.

    Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
    © REUTERS / Issei Kato
    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Monday his plans to call a new election on October 22 to ensure popular support for his government's agenda, which includes a 2-percent hike in consumption tax.

    The snap election will be held amid decreasing popularity of Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Even though the August 3 cabinet reshuffle has increased popular support for the government to nearly 50 percent, the approval rating of the conservative LDP party stands at 38 percent, according to a mid-September poll.

    LDP has been hit by a series of scandals over Abe's favoritism allegations and a defeat by opposition candidates in mayoral voting in the city of Sendai in the northwestern Miyagi prefecture and the July election to the Tokyo metropolitan assembly.

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