Yuriko Koike’s newly formed Party of Hope threatens to derail Shinzō Abe’s attempt to win another term as leader

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzō Abe, faces a serious challenge from an ally turned nemesis, as voters prepare to go to the polls next month in an election he has described as a verdict on his handling of the economy and North Korea.

Abe dissolved the lower house of parliament on Thursday, with polls showing that a new conservative party formed by the popular governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, making ground on his ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP).

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