Japan will dissolve its Parliament on Thursday, setting the stage for an election at the end of October 2021.

Iran PressAsia: According to Kyodo News Agency, 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.

The Liberal Democratic Party headed by new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hoping to capitalize on a recent lull in COVID-19 cases, while opposition leaders are still scrambling to create a united front.

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.

"We need to face the judgement of the people, and I feel very solemn," Kishida told reporters in the morning.

Yukio Edano, the leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, criticized the ruling party's coronavirus response as "always running behind."

"The LDP cannot change. We need to change the government itself," Edano said.

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.

Kishida, advocating what he calls a "new capitalism," has promised to roll out an economic package worth "tens of trillions of yen" and redistribute the fruits of growth in an attempt to build a stronger middle class. However, he has emphasized in recent days that Japan needs to achieve an economic expansion first.


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