Abe plans to dissolve the lower house on Thursday, according to a senior lawmaker of Shinzo's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), setting up for a vote that could take place as early as October 22. He said he will step down as prime minister if his Liberal Democratic Party fails to win a majority, or at least 233 seats, to stay in power.
"By gaining a mandate from the people with this election, I will forge ahead with strong diplomacy", Abe said, adding that now was the time to put more pressure on Pyongyang, not open dialogue. Turning to Asia, he also stated that North Korea's nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches are an unprecedented, grave and imminent threat to worldwide peace and security.
With the main opposition Democratic Party in disarray after an exodus of members, Mr Abe's toughest challenger might be Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, 65, who has expressed prime ministerial ambitions.
The North Korea crisis appears to have given the hawkish Abe a welcome boost in the polls following a series of scandals, including allegations he improperly favoured a friend in a business deal. His three-year term as party leader ends next September, and he will have to fend off any challengers from within the LDP to remain prime minister.
Shelley Berman, comedian-bard of everyday life, dies
Berman trained as a serious actor, but came to comedy via the Compass Players improv group in his home town of Chicago. And once he had established himself as a comedian, he went on to appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show more than 20 times.
World Cup Qualification UEFA
At halftime, the strategy from the hosts worked, and thanks to England's poor possession game, we were scoreless after 45 minutes. Substitute Welbeck made it three in added on time , on his return to worldwide football, as he beat Hogg to Kane's cross.
Tensions 'balancing on brink of large-scale conflict' - Putin on N. Korea crisis
Putin said the crisis can only be solved through "direct dialogue between all concerned parties, without preconditions". In his published comments, Putin said the situation was "balancing on the brink of a large-scale conflict".
Before speaking to LDP executives and Yamaguchi, Mr Abe told a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy he plans to launch a 2 trillion yen ($17.8 billion) economic plan, centring on free preschool education and other social support.
Dr Sota Kato, executive director of the Tokyo Foundation think-tank, expects Mr Abe to retain his majority, though he said: "Most voters can see through his motives, no matter what Mr Abe says to try to legitimise the reasons for calling an election now".
It moved modestly above ¥112 later as traders were awaiting Abe's news conference as well as a speech by Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley later in the day. The total number of seats is set to be cut to 465 in the next election as part of a reform aimed at reducing the excessive weight given to rural votes under the current system.