Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated Wednesday that he was disinclined to dissolve the House of Representatives and call a snap election to coincide with the triennial House of Councilors poll in July.
“I think it is important that Lower House lawmakers settle down and do their work after (they were elected in December),” Abe said on a TV program, referring to the poll for the all-important lower chamber of the Diet, when his Liberal Democratic Party won a landslide win and regained power.
The election for the Upper House, which is now controlled by the opposition camp, will probably be held July 21.
Abe also said the current ordinary Diet session will end on June 26 as scheduled.
The prime minister is seeking cooperation with other parties, including Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), to secure the combined two-thirds majority in both Diet chambers needed to propose an amendment to the Constitution.
But Nippon Ishin is losing favor with the public following co-leader Toru Hashimoto’s contentious remarks apparently justifying the wartime system of using the “comfort women” — females who were forced into sexual slavery for Imperial Japanese soldiers.
Amid the uproar over Hashimoto’s remarks, there has been speculation within the government and LDP that Abe, who maintains high public approval ratings, might dissolve the Lower House and set the stage for simultaneous elections for both Diet chambers in a bid to boost the number of lawmakers who support his cherished goal of rewriting the Constitution.