Japanese prime minister considering snap elections

Tokyo, Jun 13 (EFE).- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is contemplating holding early elections shortly a step aimed at strengthening the ruling coalitions and its bills at a time when the opposition seems unlikely to seize power.

Kishida on Tuesday said cryptically that he would take a decision in this regard at the “appropriate” time and taking into account “various factors” of domestic and foreign policy.

He was answering a question about the possible dissolution of the parliament, after speculation has grown about such a step with several members of the ruling party saying that it was imminent.

However, the PM refused to be drawn into a definitive answer about the duration of the current parliamentary session.

Kishida was speaking at a press conference about the dropping birth rate in Japan, as it reached its lowest-ever point last year with just 800,000 annual births.

The PM said that this could be the last opportunity for the country to reverse this trend by 2030, unveiling a plan to offer higher salaries and other aid to parents at different stages of raising their children, along with changing the social mindset of the country, where parenting duties mostly fall on mothers.

He also proposed hikes in the aid for families with children and suggested increasing access to scholarships and subsidizing high school education, along with other measures expected to be implemented in the next three years.

In Japan, legislatures often end prematurely and the government uses elections as a way of gauging public support before implementing major policies.

The Kishida administration has turned the birthrate into its largest national project and announced a series of measures and proposals in this regard, such as raising the child-care budget by 70 percent in the next three years and increasing subsidies on birth.

The government would initially issue special state bonds to fund these measures, the PM said.

Kishida is seeking to bring forward the elections to renew his government’s majority and take forward various projects of his administration, including a sharp change in the military policy proposed late last year.

The leader aims to take advantage of the virtual absence of an opposition with realistic possibilities of coming to power and strengthen his image along with Japan’s in the international arena, in light of the recent G7 summit in Hiroshima, attended by the president of besieged Ukraine.

The summit had led to a surge in the PM’s popularity ratings. EFE


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