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Close aide to Abe dismisses talk of double election in Japan

  • May 29, 2019
  • , Kyodo News , 1:47 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO — A close aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday brushed aside speculation that the Japanese leader is considering simultaneous elections this summer for both houses of parliament, indicating he does not see them coming “at all.”


“I work closely with the prime minister but the issue has never been raised,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura said in a radio program. “It doesn’t feel like (double elections are coming) at all.”


His remarks came after Akira Amari, the election chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said during a TV program on Monday that he puts the probability of a double election not happening at “99 percent.”


Nishimura told the radio program that he shares Amari’s view, but he added, “It’s solely up to the prime minister to decide.”


Speculation has been swirling in political circles that Abe will dissolve the House of Representatives, the more powerful lower house, for a snap election to coincide with the upcoming race, likely in July, for the House of Councillors.


Abe has not hinted at a double election and opposition parties say there are no legitimate reasons for it to be held.


Still, some lawmakers suspect Abe may decide in mid-June whether to dissolve the lower house as the current regular Diet session ends on June 26.


Should the lower house be dissolved in late June, July 21 is seen as the most probable date for a double race. The current six-year term for half the members of the upper house ends on July 28.


LDP Diet affairs chief Hiroshi Moriyama suggested Wednesday that necessary deliberations will be completed without the need to extend the current session.


“I don’t think it’s necessary to consider an extension,” Moriyama told reporters.

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