Wednesday, January 22

Abe vows to tackle N. Korea threat ahead of Japan election

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TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed yesterday to impose ‘all possible pressure’ on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programmes, promising to secure national security in a televised debate before a snap election.

Official campaigning begins Tuesday for the Oct 22 election in the world’s third largest economy.

“Stepping up all possible pressure, we need to create a situation in which North Korea wants talks as it will change policy,” Abe told the debate.

“We will protect our country under stable politics.”

Abe is seeking a fresh term as tensions with North Korea rise, with Pyongyang in recent months conducting what it described as a hydrogen bomb test and firing two missiles over Japan.

His Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has ruled the country for most of the post-war era, is on course to secure a majority.

But it is unclear whether it can again capture some two-thirds of the 465 seats in the powerful lower house, the margin necessary to approve changes to the pacifist constitution which Abe has been pushing. — AFP