Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering calling a snap election as early as next month to take advantage of an uptick in approval ratings and disarray in the main opposition party, domestic media reported on Sunday. Abe’s ratings have recovered to the 50 percent level in some polls, helped by public jitters over North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests and chaos in the opposition Democratic Party, struggling with single-digit support and defections. Abe told the head of his Liberal Democratic Party’s junior coalition partner, the Komeito party, that he could not rule out dissolving parliament’s lower house for a snap poll after the legislature convenes for an extra session from Sept. 28, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing unidentified informed sources.
“Until now, it appeared the election would be next autumn, but … we must always be ready for battle,” media quoted Komeito party chief Natsuo Yamaguchi as telling reporters on Saturday during a visit to Russia.
Speculation has mounted over a snap election on Oct. 22, when three by-elections are scheduled, although other possibilities are later in October or after U.S. President Donald Trump makes a likely visit in early November, media said.