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Abe Foes Unite, Threatening His Rule in Japan

30 Septembre 2017

Support ratings for Abe's government have begun to rebound as attacks on its cronyism scandals have faded during parliament's recess, while opposition parties are regrouping.

Some analysts said Abe was unlikely to suffer the same fate as the British prime minister, Theresa May, who called a snap election in the spring only to see her Conservative party lose its majority in the House of Commons.

At the same time, Koike emphasized that she will for now dedicate herself to her job as the capital's governor, rebuffing widely circulating rumors that she intends to return to the national stage by resigning and running for a Diet seat in the October 22 election.

"I hope you all understand the decision to choose substance over appearance", Maehara told a meeting of party lawmakers held after the House of Representatives was dissolved. However, the leader of the ruling LDP could face a tough fight for the premiership, as a new party gains popularity. Dissolving the lower house on the day it reconvenes has another advantage: It denies the opposition an opportunity to renew questioning him in public.

Both surveys asked voters their preference for proportional representation districts where ballots are cast for parties, rather than candidates.

On its own, the party was planning to put up about 100 candidates nationwide, too few to bring about a change of government even if it performs well.

Sources close to the governor said she has signaled that she intends to treat the newcomers differently from those who defected from the Democratic Party earlier to help her found the new party.

Meanwhile, many Democrats are averse to teaming up with Koike and Ozawa. "She doesn't actually have to win, but she has to inflict a bloody nose on Abe".

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike speaks during a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017.

Shares in Kansai Electric Power Co, the Japanese utility most dependent on nuclear power before the disaster, tumbled the most in eight months on Thursday as Koike's party gained steam.

Koike has also called for Japan to abandon nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima meltdown; Abe supports reactor restarts.

On Monday, Abe said calling of a snap election is to seek a mandate on his policies to address Japan's rapidly aging society, falling birth rate and issues of security related to tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Since the recent shake up in national politics of the past 48-hours, Abe has been muted on his contentious plans to amend Japan's pacifist constitution.

Komeito, a coalition partner of the LDP, also held an executive members' meeting at its headquarters on Tuesday to gear up for the election.

Abe Foes Unite, Threatening His Rule in Japan