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Shinzo Abe's selfish Japan election gamble

Economic reform loses out to expediency and constitutional tinkering

| Japan
Seeking the voters' mandate again -- for what? Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his June 2016 prime   © Kyodo

Shinzo Abe's government is under assault from all sides: Kim Jong Un's missile threats, Donald Trump's trade war barbs, cronyism scandals and underperforming economic policies. What is an embattled Japanese leader to do? Hold an election, of course.

During nearly five years in power, Abe has pulled off more contests than notable reforms. Each time, he has cited the need for a fresh mandate from voters. Abe's plan for yet another -- a snap election as soon as Oct. 22 -- betrays what the exercise is really about: self-preservation.

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