The Japanese Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira has dissolved parliament and scheduled a general election for October the seventh.
The Japanese Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira has dissolved parliament and scheduled a general election for October the seventh. The dissolution followed a motion from the major opposition parties stating they have no confidence in the government.
SYNOPSIS: Prime Minister Ohira effectively prevented the confidence vote by dissolving parliament before it could be taken. His Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government has ruled for ten months, and the general election comes 14 months earlier than constitutionally required.
Aircraft company pay-off scandals have been major concern of opposition groups. Some of them were angered by the LDP's refusal to have former defence minister Raizo Matsuno charged with perjury. He resigned his seat in the lower house after admitting accepting political donations, but he denied that the money was an inducement to order United States Phantom jets for Japan.
The dissolution order was read to parliament as an order signed by Emperor Hirohito. Some observers believed Prime Minister Ohira wants to increase the LDP's standing in the lower house before the Japanese economy slows in the next few months, reducing his party's popularity. Recent opinion polls shows the party to be enjoying a peak of popularity with the electorate. But oil price increases through their effect on the economy could hinder the LDP's efforts to secure the extra 23 seats it wants to dominate the parliamentary committees.
The reaction in the chamber to the dissolution announcement was mixed, but no single opposition party's reportedly strong enough to topple the party which in one form or another has ruled Japan almost continuously since the second world war. A major policy speech by Mr. Ohira (Monday 3 September) provides much material for the campaign, and possibly for a new legislative programme. His proposals include higher taxes to help financial deficit, and an energy conservation plan.