TOKYO – Japanese broadcaster NHK reports that Prime Minister Taro Aso has decided to dissolve parliament and call general elections.
NHK says parliament will be dissolved next week, with general elections to be held on Aug. 30.
The report came today, after results for a crucial Tokyo vote showed Aso’s Liberal Democratic Party had suffered a major defeat in a local election in Tokyo.
The Liberal Democrats and their coalition partner, the New Komeito Party, lost their majority in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. The vote for the local parliament is widely viewed as a barometer for the upcoming national election.
The main opposition, the Democratic Party of Japan, made major gains in the Tokyo election.
Kim Jong-il said to have cancer
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has life-threatening pancreatic cancer, a news report said today, days after new images of him looking gaunt spurred speculation that his health might be worsening following a reported stroke last year.
The 67-year-old Kim was diagnosed with the cancer around the time he was felled by a stroke last summer, Seoul’s YTN television reported, citing unidentified intelligence officials in South Korea and China.
The report cited the officials saying the disease is “threatening” Kim’s life.
South Korea’s spy agency said it could not confirm the report.
Coal miners found alive after 25 days
BEIJING – Three miners have been found alive after surviving 25 days trapped in a flooded mine in southern China, a local official said today.
The miners drank water that seeped through the earth, said Wang Guangneng, a Communist Party spokesman in the Guizhou province county of Qinglong.
The Xinqiao Coal Mine was flooded on June 17 while 16 miners were working underground, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Rescuers recovered one body a week later and are still searching for the 12 other men, it said.