It's finally official. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday he will dissolve the Lower House and call a snap election next month, after his administration decided to delay the next hike in the consumption tax until April 2017.

Voters will be justified in wondering why now.

A national election will cost as much as ¥60 billion in taxpayers' money, and the members of the Lower House still have two years left in their four-year terms.