The North Korea threat looms large over the 22 October election, but Shinzo Abe plans to play the strong and stable card against challenger Yuriko Koike

It is all about timing. Japan wasn’t due to hold an election for the powerful lower house until the end of next year, but Abe spied an opportunity to take advantage of a weak and divided opposition. In addition, his approval ratings have recovered since the summer, when he was implicated in two education-related scandals.

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