On October 3, Hakubun Shimomura, a former education minister and now a senior official in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), signaled that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe can dissolve the House of Representatives (Lower House) for a snap election. Natsuo Yamaguchi, a leader or LDP’s coalition partner Komeito, affirmed this prospect in his own speech last week that a Lower House election “could happen anytime.” In response, Renho, a newly-elected leader of the opposing Democratic Party of Japan (DP), insisted that her party is “preparing to compete” in the anticipated Lower House election.
The current term of the Lower House does not expire until December 2018. Technically speaking, therefore, Abe does not have to call for another election for another two years. Why, then, has talk of a “snap election” begun to swirl?
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