Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida dissolved the lower house of parliament on Thursday to make way for new elections later this month, which he hopes will “choose the future of Japan” in the era of COVID-19.
Kishida, who took office less than two weeks ago, announced the dissolution of the lower house of the National Parliament in a speech on Thursday in which he set out his vision for the near future.
The Prime Minister said he wanted to maintain a coalition majority that would require his Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito Party to retain 233 of 465 seats in the state parliament.
The parliamentary elections will take place on October 31st.
“We have to ask people to make a decision now,” said Kishida, according to the Japan Times. “It has been 11 days since I took office. I have spent those 11 days explaining what this new cabinet will do and I want to keep appealing to people about what we are going to do.”
Kishida said he hoped the elections will create a solid mandate for Japan’s way forward to face a possible COVID-19 resurgence, as seen last summer.
Kishida’s predecessor Yoshihide Suga was harshly criticized in Japan and was unpopular, among other things, because of his handling of the pandemic and the associated restrictions that were affecting the Japanese economy.
“The upcoming elections are about determining the future of Japan,” he said.
Suga resigned after less than a year in office last month.
Yukio Edano, leader of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, said his party would run candidates in all 22 districts to ease the Liberal Democratic Party’s hold in the country.
The Constitutional Democratic Party is an offshoot of the Democratic Party of Japan, which was founded only four years ago.
“Instead of just changing the cover, the political sector as a whole needs to be changed,” said Edano, according to Asahi Shimbun. “This election is about changing a policy of cover-up and deception.”
In his remarks on Thursday, Kishida said his party has been “reborn” and is trying to regain public confidence eroded under Suga and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.