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Many voters on Tuesday appeared confounded at the timing of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to dissolve the Lower House and call a snap election, questioning the need to set in motion a costly process without a clear need to secure a new national mandate.

During a Monday news conference, Abe said he will call a snap election — expected to take place on Oct. 22 — when the Diet convenes for an extraordinary session on Thursday. He said he would seek the public’s endorsement of his decision to divert revenue from the planned 2019 consumption tax hike to new education measures, including free kindergarten and day care services for all children aged 3 to 5.

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