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Suga backs down on Lower House dissolution

Tokyo, Sept. 9 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, one of the three candidates in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership race, has turned cautious about an early dissolution of the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament.

“The current situation does not allow a (Lower House) dissolution,” Suga said in a television program on Tuesday night, noting that bringing the novel coronavirus crisis under control is of utmost importance.

In a TV program last Thursday, Suga said that a Lower House breakup would “depend on the situation,” hinting at the possibility of the chamber being dissolved at an early date for a snap general election.

In Tuesday’s TV program, Suga said, “We need to hear from experts,” in response to the view that the pace of coronavirus infections in the country is starting to slow. “People are still scared, so it’s the government’s task to create an environment to help them return to a safe and normal life as early as possible,” he added.

Suga is believed to be ahead of his two rivals–LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Fumio Kishida and former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba–in the race to choose the party’s next leader to succeed Shinzo Abe, who is set to resign as prime minister and LDP president due to ill health. The next LDP president will certainly be named the nation’s new prime minister in an election at the Diet on Sept. 16, thanks to the party’s comfortable majority in the powerful Lower House.

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