Shinzo Abe is about to call a snap election in Japan

Kim Jong-un celebrates a missile launch

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Monday he will call an early election for parliament's more powerful lower house for next month.

North Korea is "a threat to all humanity" that requires a major escalation of global sanctions and perhaps military action to bring the regime to heel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday.

"I want the Japanese people to believe that there is hope for tomorrow", she said at a televised press conference.

He will dissolve parliament on Thursday and the election will be held on 22 October.

However, at the weekend a poll from Nikkei showed Abe had the backing of 44% of voters, with other recent polls handing him over 50%, on the back of recent rising tensions with North Korea.

Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday that countries need to unite to enforce sanctions and apply pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

At the beginning, Prime Minister Abe expressed his intention to discuss pressing challenges facing both the Asian and African regions.

Abe on Monday asked his cabinet to compile a 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) economic package by year-end to focus on child care, education and encouraging corporate investment.

As Mr Abe addressed reporters, more than 100 protesters gathered outside the Prime Minister's Office to demand his resignation.

A new poll carried out by Japan's Kyodo news agency has shown that nearly two-thirds of voters are against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling a snap election.

Tokyo's governor, whose city grouping won a municipal assembly landslide in July, said her new party would be conservative and would push for transparency in government, women's advancement and elimination of nuclear energy.

Abe is expected to announce the election at 6 p.m. briefing in Tokyo.

Koike, who is a former member of Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, said that she would lead candidates across the nation.

Although Abe is expected to triumph in the vote, there are question marks over whether he will retain the two-thirds parliamentary majority needed to reform the constitution to strengthen Japan's military, one of his stated priorities. Reforms enacted a year ago will cut the number of lower house seats to 465 from 475.

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