Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved the lower house of parliament on Thursday, which means that voters will be called to the polls on October 20th.
His decision is essentially perceived as a maneuver to rebuild his power within the Liberal Democratic Party after a series of scandals and blunders earlier this year. A convincing victory should guarantee his re-election as party leader in September 2018.
Mr. Abe probably counts on the disorganization of his opponents to lead to victory.
The main opposition party, the Democratic Party, held power between 2009 and 2012, but is currently in turmoil. Several of its members have left its ranks to join the Party of Hope, whose creation was announced earlier this week by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.
Ms. Koike is probably too new to be able to take power away from Mr. Abe, but the first polls give him amazing popularity.
But analysts point out that Ms. Koike does not need to win, she just has to make a big splash. If that happens, the Prime Minister could end up at risk in his party, and possibly be ousted.
“Japan is back”, had hammered Mr. Abe back in 2012 when he took power, before launching, three years later, another formula — proactive pacifism — to justify a larger projection of military strength from the country. Since then, Mr. Abe’s voluntarism, which is intended to be ubiquitous throughout the world, has mostly translated into a stronger alignment with the United States of Donald Trump.
After faltering much due to a lack of success on the economic issues facing Japan, Abe’s rise in popularity over the past few days has gone up, particularly as a result of his stance against the threat of North Korea.