TOKYO (Kyodo) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday sought to dispel speculation that he will dissolve the lower house for an election, saying such an idea has not crossed his mind.
“We should devote ourselves to following through on the promises made to the Japanese people during the (July upper house) election and carrying out policies. For now, I’m not thinking about (dissolving the lower house) at all,” Abe told a parliamentary session.
Abe also apologized for appointing two Cabinet ministers who were forced to resign in recent weeks over money and gift-giving scandals.
“I will carry on (running the government) with the determination not to have another minister resign,” Abe said.
The prime minister has touched on the possibility of dissolving the powerful House of Representatives before the end of its four-year term in 2021 during multiple meetings, according to ruling party lawmakers.
In the parliamentary session on Wednesday, opposition parties took aim at education minister Koichi Hagiuda over remarks interpreted as tolerating inequality in education.
A close aide to Abe, Hagiuda told a TV program in late October that students should compete for university places “in accordance with their (financial) standing,” when he was asked about the fairness of using private-sector English tests. The government subsequently delayed the introduction of the proficiency tests.
“My responsibility is to brush up the new entrance exam system as its launch has been postponed and I will do my utmost,” Hagiuda told the session Wednesday, dismissing the idea that he will quit as education minister.