Japan PM dissolves lower house for Oct. 31 national election

TOKYO (AP) — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has dissolved the lower house of parliament for Japan’s first elections of the pandemic. At stake Oct. 31 will be how Japan faces a potential coronavirus resurgence and revives its battered economy, and whether Kishida’s government can emerge from the shadow of nearly nine years of his conservative party holding power. Kishida said he is seeking a mandate after being elected by parliament only 10 days ago. The ruling coalition won about two-thirds of the chamber in the last election, but his party’s support has been battered by a perceived high-handed approach to the pandemic. Japanese opposition parties see the election as an opportunity to change the country’s politics.