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PM Abe insists N. Korea tensions necessitated early election call

Liberal Democratic Party chief and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a party leaders' debate in Tokyo's Minato Ward, on Oct. 7, 2017. (Mainichi)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seeking public understanding for his decision to dissolve the House of Representatives for a general election by emphasizing his belief that North Korean tensions will intensify toward the end of this year.

"The international community will increase its pressure on the country, so the situation will become increasingly tense. Japan won't be in a situation in which an election can be called between the end of this year and next year," the prime minister said during an Oct. 8 program on the online streaming site AbemaTV.

Citing a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for curbs on the exports of oil products to the North, Abe said, "If the supply of oil products is cut, it will deal a serious blow to the country. Tensions will increase."

Opposition parties are criticizing Prime Minister Abe for dissolving the lower house at the outset of an extraordinary Diet session on Sept. 28, without deliberations.

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