Japan Politics
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, center, and other lawmakers give three cheers after dissolving the lower house, the more powerful of the two Diet chambers, on Thursday. Kishida dissolved the lower house of parliament, paving the way for the Oct 31 national election. Photo: AP/Eugene Hoshiko

Kishida dissolves lower house for Oct 31 national election


Prime Minister Fumio Kishida dissolved the lower house of the Diet on Thursday, paving the way for elections on Oct 31.

At stake will be how Japan faces a potential coronavirus resurgence and revives its battered economy, and if or how Kishida's government can leave the shadow of the nearly nine years of Abe-Suga rule some describe as dominating to the point of muzzling diverse views.

Kishida said he is seeking a mandate for his policies after being elected prime minister by the Diet only 10 days ago.

He replaced Yoshihide Suga, who lasted just a year as prime minister and whose support was battered by his perceived high-handed approach in dealing with the coronavirus and insistence on holding the Tokyo Olympics despite rising virus cases.

Kishida, tasked with rallying support for the ruling party, has promised to pursue politics of "trust and empathy."

Four main opposition parties have agreed to cooperate on some policies, such as addressing gaps between the rich and the poor that they say widened during Shinzo Abe's government and were worsened by the pandemic.

After Tadamori Oshima, the speaker of the house, announced the dissolution, the 465 lawmakers in the more powerful lower chamber stood up, shouted "banzai" three times and left. Official campaigning for all 465 newly vacant seats begins Tuesday.

The last lower house election was held in 2017 under Abe, a staunch conservative who pulled the long-ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party further to the right while serving as Japan's longest-serving prime minister.

In that vote, the LDP and its coalition partner New Komeito together won 310 seats, or two-thirds of the chamber.

Opposition parties have struggled to win enough votes to form a new government after the brief rule of the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan in 2009-2012. But with weaker LDP support under Suga, the party lost three parliamentary by-elections and a local vote this year to opposition contenders.

Yukio Edano, head of the largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, told NHK public television that he hopes to make the election "a first step toward changing the politics."

In his first policy speech last week, Kishida promised to strengthen the country's pandemic response, revive the economy and bolster defenses against threats from China and North Korea. He also sought to gradually expand social and economic activities by using vaccination certificates and more testing.

Yuichiro Tamaki, head of the Democratic Party for the People, said Kishida was selfish for dissolving the lower house so early in his tenure. "It is unclear on what policies he is seeking a mandate from the voters," Tamaki said.

He said his party will propose economic policy that seeks higher pay for workers.

"We want to create a political situation where ruling and opposition blocs are in close competition," Tamaki said.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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We knew that this was going to happen, but still.... Those damn speaker trucks.....

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Looks like they are enjoying the decision. What will happen after 31 October? Hoping for the better. But who really knows.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Dissolved just like their souls. Now just have to dissolve the public and it’s all cup noddles for everyone who is from the right family.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

“Ruling and opposition blocs are in close competition” a situation that can only be of benefit to the people of Japan. The development of a true democracy allowing the expression of alternative views and a more open public debate on matters affecting the population and if they are very lucky a government responsive to those needs!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida dissolved the lower house of the Diet on Thursday, paving the way for elections on Oct 31.

The Halloween Horror of the Liberal Democratic Party returns to stalk the Japanese public like the faceless terror who keeps returning again and again...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Waiting for the stock market news and the Covid infection numbers to be associated with this...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Bonsai, Bonsai…let’s make a big tree smaller together.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yes, two differing concepts to choose from. One, you get nothing, but pay a bit. Second, you get something, but more than given is taken away from you shortly after. lol

1 ( +2 / -1 )


0 ( +1 / -1 )

dissolved? must be cuz they're in deep water....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The photo says it all,Motegi&Co ready for their revisionism and bring the country back to a “beautiful Japan” pre war.


4 ( +5 / -1 )

Looking at the rolling polling data, it seems that once Suga left office, Kishida and Co. skyrocketed back into dominance. LDP is now polling in the low 40s, a jump of almost 7 points, while the CDP has suffered a similar loss in support over the same time period.

Plus, when asked to identify which party Japanese identify with, the LDP scores first in the low 40s, followed by...."No Party" (in the high 30s), then the CDP...with under 10%. (The "No Party" share has actually dropped by about 10 points since Suga left, meaning more people are throwing their lot in with Kishida and Co.)

Combine the LDP with an almost certain political partner in Komeito, coupled by the fact that Edano's CDP would have to gain 178 new seats to "win" on its own (which is more than 3 times its present Diet membership), and what we have here seems to be not another "election"....but another LDP "selection".

Prediction: the Prime Minister was decided by the LDP race, not by this upcoming general election. The LDP selected their pretty face well, and he's taking the talking points away from the Opposition, so much so that many Japanese will be fooled into thinking Kishida and the "New Look" LDP represents the safest form of "progressive" politics, still.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ahh the 1930s such a great time, let’s support a return. What could go wrong?.After all 70 years of LDP same families in charge has given us…..oh.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

All 465 seats? I can imagine the vans with those incredibly loud speakers ruining everyone's enjoyment of walking the streets in every city and town in the country. This is one time - probably the ONLY time - I'll say I'm glad I'm not currently in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No! We never get the election vans. All is quiet.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I love the election Cars and the voices and glove-wearing babes near the windows. Make me feel like I am in a democracy.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

oooo very spooky!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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