October 14 (NWN) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday dismissed the lower house of parliament to make way for new elections later this month, which he hopes will “choose the future of Japan” in the COVID-19 era.
Kishida, who took office less than two weeks ago, announced the dissolution of the lower house of the national parliament during a speech on Thursday in which he outlined his vision for the near future.
The prime minister said he wants to maintain a coalition majority, for which his Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito party must retain 233 of the 465 parliamentary seats.
Parliamentary elections will take place on 31 October.
“Now we have to ask people to make a decision,” Kishida said, according to the Japan Times. “It’s been 11 days since I took office. I spent these 11 days explaining what this new cabinet is going to do, and I would like to continue to appeal to people about what we are going to do. “
Kishida expressed his hope that the elections will create a strong mandate to move Japan forward in overcoming possible COVID-19 recurrences, as it did last summer.
Kishida’s predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, was heavily criticized and unpopular in Japan in part because of how he dealt with the pandemic and the associated restrictions that wreaked havoc on the Japanese economy.
“The upcoming elections are the choice for the future of Japan,” he said.
Suga stepped down last month after less than a year in office.
Yukio Edano, leader of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, said his party will nominate candidates in all 22 constituencies to ease the grip the Liberal Democratic Party has held in the country for years.
The Constitutional Democratic Party is an offshoot of the Democratic Party of Japan, created just four years ago.
“Instead of just changing cover, you need to change the political sector as a whole,” Edano said, according to Asahi Shimbun. “This election will be about changing the policy of cover-up and deception.”
In a speech on Thursday, Kishida said his party has been “reborn” and is seeking to reclaim the public trust that had been eroded under Suga and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.