National / Politics

Abe dinner with Komeito leader stokes speculation about snap election

JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party’s coalition partner Komeito, had a dinner meeting Thursday, stoking speculation that they may have discussed the possibility of a snap election for the House of Representatives.

At a Komeito meeting Friday, Yamaguchi said he had a two-hour dinner meeting with the prime minister.

The one-on-one dinner between the two, held at Abe’s suggestion, was their first since Abe returned to power in December 2012, according to Komeito sources.

“We confirmed that the government and the ruling parties will be maintaining a sense of tension” toward the Dec. 9 end of the ongoing parliamentary session, Yamaguchi told the party meeting.

Abe and Yamaguchi regularly meet over lunch at the Prime Minister’s Office. They had a dinner meeting in November 2018, but were accompanied by senior government officials.