Japan heads to the polls on Oct 22

Lawmakers raise their hands shouting 'banzai!' (Hurrah!) after the dissolution of the Lower House of the Parliament in Tokyo, on Sept 28, 2017.
Lawmakers raise their hands shouting 'banzai!' (Hurrah!) after the dissolution of the Lower House of the Parliament in Tokyo, on Sept 28, 2017. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Japan's Parliament was dissolved yesterday, paving the way for snap elections on Oct 22.

Campaigning will start on Oct 10, with 465 seats in the Lower House up for grabs.

Opposition groups, including the Democratic Party (DP), are lining up behind the new Kibo No To (Party of Hope) led by high-profile Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to challenge the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

DP chief Seiji Maehara said yesterday that the party will not field any candidates, and urged members to run under the Kibo No To banner.

The alliance was slammed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of the LDP, who said: "Hope can never be born from parties that merely change their signboard for the sake of a poll."

In calling for a snap election 14 months before it was due, Mr Abe said it was necessary to get support on how he plans to spend additional revenue from a tax hike slated for October 2019.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2017, with the headline 'Japan heads to the polls on Oct 22'. Print Edition | Subscribe