Japan’s PM dissolves lower house of parliament for general election

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Tokyo (Web Desk): Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday dissolved the lower house of parliament, paving the way for a general election at the end of this month.

The election, with the coronavirus response and economic policies of the various parties to the fore, will be held on Oct. 31 after the four-year term of lower house members expires on Oct. 21.

Kishida said he is seeking the public’s mandate for his policies after being elected prime minister by parliament only 10 days ago to replace Yoshihide Suga.

It is the first time in Japan's postwar history that a general election will be held after the term has expired, and the period between the dissolution of the lower house and voting day will be the shortest.

Kishida won the ruling party's presidential election on Sept. 29 and was chosen as prime minister on Oct. 4 in parliament controlled by the LDP-led coalition.

The general election will be a chance for Kishida to secure wider public support for his policies focusing on reviving the world's third-largest economy which has been battered by the pandemic and enhancing its coronavirus response.

Of the 465 seats of the lower house, the LDP and its partner Komeito won 310 in the last election in October 2017. Kishida has said the ruling coalition is seeking to win at least 233 seats this round.