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Abe takes aim at new parties in opening shots of election campaign

11 October 2017 10:29 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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REUTERS, 10th OCTOBER, 2017- Election campaigning began in earnest in Japan on Tuesday with conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aiming to shake off suspected cronyism scandals and repulse the challenge from an upstart new party to extend his near-five year hold on power.


The Oct. 22 election pits Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition against the less than one-month-old Party of Hope headed by popular Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, a former LDP lawmaker often floated as a possible first female Japanese premier.


Calling for a snap election, Abe had said he needed to renew his mandate to cope with a “national crisis” stemming from rising regional tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and the demographic time-bomb of Japan’s fast-ageing, shrinking population.


Opposition disarray and an uptick in his own ratings, which had rebounded after sinking due to a series of scandals, had encouraged the 63-year-old Abe to take the plunge.

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