Abe, Trump agree to put maximum pressure on North Korea

Kim Jong-un celebrates a missile launch

AFP GETTYKim Jong-un celebrates a missile launch

Abe said Japan, a treaty ally of the United States, consistently supported the USA stance that "all options are on the table" in dealing with North Korea.

At a time of national crisis over North Korea, Japanese voters may see it as a "cynical and opportunistic move" created to divert attention from a series of scandals that weighed on Abe's popularity, warned Sano.

Also discussed at the meeting were long-unresolved abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump warned North Korea in his speech to the UN that the United States would "totally destroy" the country if threatened.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said: "We greatly appreciate President Trump's approach to changing North Korea's policy stance, denuclearising the country and calling on the global community, including China and Russian Federation, for their cooperation toward strengthening pressure on North Korea".

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Abe's image as a strong leader has bolstered his ratings amid rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear arms and missile programmes and overshadowed opposition criticism of the premier for suspected cronyism scandals that had eroded his support. "We must make North Korea abandon all nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner", he said.

Despite the pledge of coordination on North Korea at a trilateral summit Thursday between Abe, Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, distance remains between Tokyo and Seoul. The resolution instead caps the country's oil supply and targets its sources of foreign currency.

The survey comes a day before Abe is expected to announce the elections for the lower house which is going to cover proportional representation districts.

The election would also take advantage of weakness in Japan's opposition parties, with the main Democratic Party hemorrhaging members and a new movement linked to popular Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike still in its fledgling stage.

Abe offered no firm details of the promised reforms in a speech to investors at the New York Stock Exchange, but said he was "absolutely" confident his government could deliver changes that would offset a dwindling population and other challenges facing the world's third-largest economy.

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