Japanese politicians gearing up for election

Japan's ruling and opposition parties are gearing up for the upcoming Lower House election, after Prime Minister Kishida Fumio unveiled his plan for the vote.

Kishida made the announcement on Monday at a news conference held after he formed a new Cabinet.

Kishida said that he will dissolve the Lower House on October 14, paving the way for a general election on October 31. Campaigning will start on October 19.

The term of office for current Lower House members will expire on October 21.

Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito are aiming to retain their majority in the Lower House.
Members of the ruling coalition welcomed the election schedule, saying that approval rates for a Cabinet tend to be higher immediately after its launch. They also said that the timing is favorable now that coronavirus infection cases have declined sharply.

The LDP plans to select candidates whom the party will endorse in the election and compile its election pledges by the end of this week.

The opposition parties are criticizing Kishida, who is set to dissolve the Lower House without holding the Budget Committee of the extraordinary Diet session as requested by the opposition.

Opposition lawmakers say that Kishida is no different from his predecessors, who they say discounted their accountability and Diet debates.

The opposition parties plan to try to win over voters by stressing the need for a change of government.

The largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party plans to coordinate with other opposition parties to nominate unified candidates in as many constituencies as possible against contenders from the governing coalition parties.