Tokyo: Newly-elected Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has officially dissolved the lower house of the Japanese Parliament ahead of national elections on October 31. The last lower house election was held in 2017 under former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Tadamori Oshima, the speaker of the more powerful lower chamber, announced the dissolution at a plenary session. 465 Japanese lawmakers have now lost their seats and will have to campaign from Monday onwards.
Kishida succeeds former PM Yoshihide Suga whose approach to the Covid-19 pandemic left many citizens of the country angry and dissatisfied. Suga's insistence on holding the Tokyo Olympics despite the rising number of cases at the time was also seen as a factor in his unpopularity. In contrast, Kishida has vowed to pursue a more empathetic approach that will balance tackling the pandemic with rejuvenating the battered economy and taking note of the troubles of the middle class.
Under Kishida, Japan has also vowed to take a strong stand against perceived threats from China and North Korea.