Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he’ll dissolve the lower house of parliament on Sept. 28 for a general election as he announced an $18 billion economic package.
At a press conference Monday, Abe unveiled a slew of economic measures including more education spending. He said he’d pay for them with funds from a consumption tax increase originally intended to rein in the nation’s swollen debt. He also spoke about the need to keep up pressure on North Korea after Kim Jong Un’s regime fired two missiles over Japan in recent weeks.
“To increase investment in future generations, I decided today to change the way we had promised to use the sales tax,” Abe said. “I am changing a pledge that was made to the public, and one that affects people’s livelihoods, so I must swiftly seek the will of the people.”
Voting will be set for Oct. 22, according to three people with knowledge of his ruling coalition’s plans. Heightened tensions with North Korea have boosted Abe’s approval rating after a series of scandals, and may help him retain his coalition’s two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament.
(c) 2017, Bloomberg · Isabel Reynolds, Emi Nobuhiro