Japan News Report Tips Early Election

Japanese media reports continued to swirl Thursday over whether Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would call snap elections soon, seeking to renew his mandate before a decision on a second hike to the nationwide consumption tax. A senior member of Abe's Liberal Democratic Party was quoted in a Jiji news report as saying Abe had decided to call elections, though the LDP could wait until the end of 2016 before going before the voters. "It looks like Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has finally made up his mind, and it's fair to consider that he decided to go to the people," the politician, Tadamori Oshima, was quoted as saying, according to a Reuters translation of the quote in the Jiji report. A decision to dissolve the Diet and go to the polls would also involve delaying plans for the tax hike, Reuters said.

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