TOKYO (AP) – Japan’s new prime minister, Fumio Kishida, dissolved the lower house of parliament on Thursday, paving the way for a general election on Oct. 31.

Kishida said he seeks the mandate of the people for his policies after being elected prime minister by parliament just 10 days ago to replace Yoshihide Suga.

Tadamori Oshima, the speaker of the most powerful chamber of the two that make up the Japanese parliament, announced its dissolution in an extraordinary session.

Following the announcement, all 465 lawmakers rose to their feet, yelled “banzai” three times and left the chamber after officially losing their seats. The electoral campaign starts on Tuesday.

The last parliamentary elections were held in 2017 with Shinzo Abe as prime minister.

His successor, Suga, lasted just a year in office and support for his government fell due to a perceived conservative approach to addressing the coronavirus pandemic and his insistence on holding the Olympic Games despite increasing infections. which angered the population.

Kishida, charged with regaining support for the ruling party, has vowed to follow a policy of “trust and empathy.”

In his first political speech on Friday, he promised to strengthen the national response to the pandemic in the event of another rebound, revive the battered economy and strengthen defenses against threats from China and North Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (center) and other lawmakers give three cheers after dissolving the lower house, the most powerful of the two in parliament, during an extraordinary session in Tokyo on October 14, 2021. (AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko)

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