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January 19 2018, 01:44 | Alonzo Simpson
GETTYNorth Koreans watched the missile launch from their country last week
If he is re-elected as party leader next year, he could end up serving till 2021, making him the longest-serving prime minister in Japan's political history.
"I want the Japanese people to believe that there is hope for tomorrow", she said at a televised press conference.
The election is due to be held October 22.
Mr Abe said at a news conference that he will dissolve the more powerful house in Japan's two-chamber parliament on Thursday when it convenes after a three-month summer recess.
With the main opposition Democratic Party in disarray after an exodus of members, Mr Abe's toughest challenger might be Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, 65, who has expressed prime ministerial ambitions. "We must make North Korea abandon all nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner", he said. What remains fresh in voters' minds was the revolving door of six prime ministers between 2006 and 2012 until Mr Abe took power.
Both the ruling and opposition parties have ramped up preparations for the expected election, drawing up their campaign pledges and promoting discussions over electoral cooperation among opposition forces.
He said fostering human resources and improving productivity would be two pillars of his Cabinet's policies, adding that the government will compile a policy package worth 2 trillion yen (18 billion US dollars) to boost support for child care and education.
But Komeito's Mr Yamaguchi defended the call, saying after his meeting with Abe that the decision to use the consumption tax hike revenue in a different way than originally promised justifies renewing the administration's mandate from the public.
Koike's Tomin First no Kai (Tokyo Residents First) party humiliated Abe and the LDP in local elections in July, but analysts say the new grouping has not had time to lay a national foundation to mount a serious challenge to the prime minister. Reforms adopted a year ago will cut the number of lower house seats to 465 from 475.
A new poll carried out by Japan's Kyodo news agency has shown that nearly two-thirds of voters are against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling a snap election.