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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida dissolved the lower house of the country's Parliament on Thursday, clearing the way for elections on Oct. 31, per Reuters.
Why it matters: Kishida is seeking a mandate to govern 10 days after he was elected as prime minister by Japan's Parliament. The country faces the threat of a potential COVID-19 resurgence while trying to revive the world's third-largest economy and working with the U.S. and other allies to address security threats.
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The big picture: The 64-year-old former foreign minister of Japan was elected leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) last month, after his predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, stepped down following a year in office.
Suga's approval ratings plummeted as Japan's COVID-19 cases surged during the Tokyo Olympics, but Kishida has enjoyed a "reasonable level of public support" since being elected, according to Channel News Asia (CNA).
The biggest opposition party is the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, led by Yukio Edano who, unlike Kishida, backs same-sex marriage, per Reuters. However, the CDPJ's recent polling numbers have been low, Reuters notes.
Of note: Kishida revealed the LDP's manifesto on Tuesday, which focuses on addressing the pandemic, rebuilding Japan's middle class and defending the country against the threat of China's "increasingly assertive" government, CNA reports.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.
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