Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to call a snap election at a news conference this evening at 7pm AEST, according to a Reuters report.
The election is likely to be scheduled for next month. Reuters says Abe is hoping to capitalise on a recent surge in ratings amid rising tensions with North Korea.
Abe’s approval rating has climbed to 50% from around 30% in July. Aside from a pledge to stay tough on North Korea, Abe’s also expected to announce a 2 trillion yen ($US17.8 billion) spending package with a focus on education and childcare.
A weekend survey showed that 44% of voters planned to vote for Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, against just 8% for the opposition Democratic Party.
However, a further 42.2% of voters surveyed said they were undecided — which adds a degree of uncertainty to the outcome, with one analyst not ruling out a “nasty surprise” for Abe’s ruling party.
While the Democratic Party is languishing with single-digit ratings, much will depend on whether it can form alliances with liberal opposition groups.
Reuters reported that an internal survey from Abe’s LDP party showed that by calling a snap election, it would likely be able to claim 280 out of 465 seats.