RTTNews - Japan's embattled Prime Minister Taro Aso has called a snap general election for August 30, a ruling party official told reporters Monday, after the ruling coalition suffered a major loss in Sunday's Tokyo metropolitan assembly election.
Japan Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) secretary-general Hiroyuki Hosoda said a preliminary decision had been made to hold an election on that date and the ruling bloc has not voiced objections to going to the polls under Aso's leadership.
LDP legislator Shuzen Tanigawa confirmed that Prime Minister Aso will dissolve Japan's national Diet or parliament July 21 and call national elections for August 30.
People of Tokyo said no to both local government and national government, the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) , Yukio Hatoyama, said on the latest poll results, addding: To dissolve the lower house and go to the people is the only thing available to Prime Minister Aso.
The opposition DPJ became the leading party in Sunday's Tokyo metropolitan assembly election, after it secured 54 seats out of the total of 127, compared with 38 seats of the LDP. The New Komeito party won 23 seats, making the ruling bloc's total seats 61--three short of the 64 needed to secure a majority.
The Japanese Communist Party secured eight, while Tokyo Seikatsusha Network won two and other two seats went to independents.
Before the election, 48 assembly members belonged to the LDP, 34 to the DPJ, 22 to New Komeito, 13 to the Japanese Communist Party and four to Tokyo Seikatsusha Network. Four other assembly members were independents and two seats were vacant.
Aso's leadership ability was challenged after a series of ministerial resignations exerted pressure on the government, with some LDP legislators asking him to step down.
Japan's Nikkei average slipped 0.5 percent Monday on caution ahead of upcoming corporate earnings releases, though the market's losses were limited as the yen pulled back from five-month highs against dollar. The benchmark Nikkei fell 50.52 points, or 0.5 percent, to 9,236.76 after an eight-day slide which took it to a seven-week low on Friday. The broader Topix fell 0.3 percent to 869.65.
Analysts said there was limited impact from the big defeat for Japan's ruling LDP in Sunday's Tokyo poll, which is seen as a bellwether for the upcoming general election. The defeat is LDP's fifth straight loss in local elections as Aso abandoned pledges to cut spending and reduce the world's largest public debt.
LDP already lost to DPJ in four straight major local elections--mayoral polls in Nagoya, Saitama and Chiba and a gubernatorial race in Shizuoka Prefecture. Also on Sunday, DPJ defeated LDP in Nara mayoral election.
Earlier Prime Minister Aso, who returned to Japan Saturday from the Group of Eight Summit in Italy, appeared not willing to give up fighting on. He was quoted as telling Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura,a top government spokesman, Saturday night the results of the Tokyo assembly election are not related to national politics.
Meanwhile, the opposition DPJ is determined to accomplish a change of power in Japanese politics after more than 50 years of nearly unbroken LDP rule. Recent public opinion polls conducted by major media already showed much more people preferred DPJ to LDP as the ruling party.
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