Japanese PM Abe says election won't distract him from tackling North Korea

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference to announce snap election at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan, September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday said his decision to call a snap election would not distract his government from responding to North Korean threats, pledging to increase pressure if Pyongyang failed to halt its missile and nuclear weapons development.

North Korea has launched two ballistic missiles and tested what was likely a hydrogen bomb in the past several weeks raising tension in East Asia.

Abe spoke at a press conference to announce his plan to dissolve parliament on Thursday and call a snap election.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; writing by Tim Kelly; Editing by Nick Macfie