National election campaigning kicks off in Japan

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Tokyo

Campaigning has begun in Japan for snap general elections, which mainly pit Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) against Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike’s newly-founded Party of Hope.
The 63-year-old Abe kicked off his campaign on Tuesday by visiting the northern prefecture of Fukushima, where he told crowds that the experience he had gained in years of practicing politics was what was needed to pull the country out of a “national crisis.”
Abe, who has called the snap elections for October 22, claimed North Korea’s weapons development program and the aging population of Japan had plunged the country into the crisis, forcing him to want to renew his mandate with stronger public support.
The LDP-led coalition is seeking a two-thirds “super majority” in the parliament’s lower house, but it risks losing the simple majority that it already has. Abe’s LDP had 288 seats in the lower house before the chamber was dissolved for the elections; its junior partner, the Komeito, had 35.—Agencies