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Seeking to capitalize on a fractured and weak opposition and a healthy lead in the polls, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stunned Japan by gambling on a snap election more than a year before it was due.Some experts warned Abe could face a similar backlash.Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at the Temple University Japan, said Abe's gamble was more likely to pay off than May's as he faces a weaker opposition than May did with Corbyn.Another reason Abe may be rushing ahead with an election is to cut the ground under the popular mayor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, who unveiled a new party "Kibo no To" (Party of Hope), just hours before the vote was called.Others view the election as a way of deflecting attention from a series of scandals that have rocked Abe in recent months, including allegations of favoritism to a friend in a business deal – which the prime minister strongly denies.
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