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Abe announces snap election amid worries over N Korea crisis

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Reuters, Tokyo :
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would dissolve parliament's lower house on Thursday for a snap election, as he seeks a fresh mandate to overcome "a national crisis".
Abe, in power for five years, said he needed a mandate to shift some revenues from a planned future tax hike to social spending such as education, besides seeking support for a tough stance toward North Korea's repeated missile and nuclear tests.
"I will dissolve the lower house on Sept. 28," Abe told a nationally televised news conference on Monday.
Earlier, the head of Abe's junior coalition partner, Natsuo Yamaguchi, said he understood the election would be held on Oct. 22.
The decision is largely seen as aimed at taking advantage of Abe's recently improved support ratings and opposition disarray.

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