Japan general election: PM Kishida dissolves Parliament ahead of October 31 vote

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida dissolved Parliament’s lower house on Thursday, setting the stage for a general election this month as he seeks to rouse support for his newly formed government.

© Koji Sasahara/AP Fumio Kishida delivers a speech during an extraordinary Diet session at the lower house of Parliament in Tokyo, on October 11.

The vote, to be held on October 31, will be Kishida’s first major test after he won the ruling party’s leadership election on September 29 and was officially appointed Japan’s 100th Prime Minister on October 4.

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Local media reports have suggested the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, headed by Kishida, hopes to take advantage of the recent nationwide decline in Covid-19 cases to drum up support for the party.

The previous Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, didn’t run in his party’s leadership race, following a turbulent term marked by a slump in public support as he struggled to contain the coronavirus.

Kishida is pushing for what he calls a “new capitalism.” He has promised to raise salaries for the middle class and implement an economic stimulus package worth at least $290 billion to revive the world’s third-largest economy, Reuters reported.

He has committed to bolstering the government’s Covid-19 response and said Tuesday it would provide free vaccine booster shots as early as December.

The Prime Minister has also pledged to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific amid rising tensions with China and North Korea.

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