Japan prime minister calls snap election

Japan prime minister calls snap election
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe

Japan’s prime minister has called a snap election and put off a sales tax hike planned for next year as the country struggles to fend off recession.

Shinzo Abe said he had decided to postpone a second tax hike until 2017 after the economy slumped into recession following a tax increase in April, showing it is too weak for another increase.

He said he will dissolve parliament on Friday and the election is scheduled for mid-December.

The ruling Liberal Democrats have a solid majority and hope to further consolidate their power at a time when opposition parties are weak and in disarray.

Delaying the tax hike will slow Japan’s work on repairing its tattered public finances but Mr Abe said the risk to the economy was a bigger threat.

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