Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's tax concession to his junior coalition partner raises the odds that he will call a rare double election this summer.

Abe's Liberal Democratic Party agreed with Komeito on Saturday to keep the sales-tax rate on food and drink — excluding alcohol and dining out — at 8 percent when the levy is raised to 10 percent in April 2017. In yielding to Komeito on its billboard policy, Abe may be able to persuade his ally to agree to a snap lower house election on the same day as an upper chamber poll scheduled around the end of July.

Needing Komeito's backing in the upper house election, Abe brushed aside the concerns of the Finance Ministry and fiscal hawks in his own party who say that the lower rates would have to be offset by spending cuts to reel in the world's biggest debt burden. Victory in a double poll would mean Abe needn't face voters again until 2019, opening the way for him to push ahead with his long-cherished goal of revising the postwar pacifist Constitution.