Japanese Prime Minister calls snap election

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Photo credit: Reuters

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called a snap election, with the parliament to be dissolved on Thursday (local time).

The election is set to be held in October, more than a year earlier than was expected, according to local media.

Mr Abe, who has held power for five years, made the announcement at a news conference on Monday.

It's believed the move is trying to take advantage of rebounding opinion polls for Mr Abe, while the opposition is in disarray, Reuters reports.

Some of the election promises expected to be put forward include more spending on education and child care, revising the constitution and cracking down on North Korea.

The country has launched several missiles over Japan in the last month.

"We need to let North Korea realise that if they keep taking this path, they will have no bright future," Mr Abe said earlier this month.

A poll by the Kyodo news agency on Sunday found almost two-thirds of Japanese voters were opposed to the snap election.