JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce a snap election on Monday, capitalising on a surge of support for his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and an opposition party in disarray.
Japan's Defense Minister Tomomi Inada also resigned in late July under pressure about a series of missteps that led to a decline in public support for Abe.
The euro was on a soft note versus the dollar, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservative bloc expected to face hard coalition talks after winning Sunday's general election for the lower house of the country's parliament. The prime minister did not give a date for the vote but it is widely expected to be October 22. Reuters says Abe is hoping to capitalise on a recent surge in ratings amid rising tensions with North Korea.
The extraordinary session of parliament is set to start on Thursday.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, ahead of Abe's decision, reportedly announced that she would move to formulate a new national party called "Party of Hope" to challenge the Japanese PM. Abe has said that the polls won't distract his government from responding to North Korea. What remains fresh in voters' minds was the revolving door of six prime ministers between 2006 and 2012 until Mr Abe took power.
Should he secure a fourth term in office, Abe's agenda would push forward a raise in sales taxes to 10% from 8%, the revenue from which would be directed into child care and education spending rather than working to pay off the country's debt.
"For Mr. Abe, now is the time".
That was higher than the 27.7% a Kyodo news agency survey showed voting for Abe's party, with 42.2% undecided.
Nevertheless, roughly a fifth of those canvassed by Nikkei answered that they had yet to make up their minds, meaning it was unclear whether Abe would be able to muster the two-thirds parliamentary majority he needed in order to pass a Constitutional reform.
Her announcement put an end to weeks of speculation about the outcome of negotiations between Masaru Wakasa, an independent lower house lawmaker and ally to Ms Koike, and defectors from other parties, including Goshi Hosono, a former environment minister who recently left the Democratic Party.