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It is hard to understand why Prime Minister Shinzo Abe needed to dissolve the Lower House, as he did last week. Even top leaders of his Liberal Democratic Party initially appeared to be baffled. “To be honest, I feel it a bit strange that even though the prime minister has made no such statement, the atmosphere [for dissolving the Lower House] is rapidly building up following the report by a certain member of the media,” Shigeru Ishiba, minister in charge of regional revitalization, wrote in his blog.

Deputy LDP chief Masahiko Komura said Abe was dissolving the chamber for a snap election “just to make sure” (nenno tame), as he guessed at the prime minister’s intentions behind the move. In short, LDP leaders other than Abe himself were finding it hard to identify major campaign issues worthy of holding a general election.

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