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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved the Lower House on Friday to pave the way for his Dec. 14 snap election, surprising voters after two years in office with what he calls an urgent referendum on “Abenomics.”

The break-up of the chamber followed his decision Tuesday to postpone the second stage of the consumption tax hike until April 2017. The rise to 10 percent from 8 percent was originally scheduled to take place next October to complete the doubling of the unpopular levy.

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