TOKYO: Japan dissolved its parliament on Thursday, setting the stage for an election at the end of the month that will pit new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida against unpopular opposition in a battle over who can better fix the pandemic-battered economy.
Kishida enjoys reasonable public support 11 days into the job, polls show, boding well for his goal of maintaining a lower house majority for his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its Komeito party coalition partner, reports Reuters.
Voters will want to see a government with plans for decisive action to end the pandemic and rebuild the economy. A recent Sankei newspaper poll showed that about 48 percent say they want the Kishida administration to work on coronavirus most, followed by economic recovery and employment.
Kishida's party is promoting his push for coronavirus measures including supplying oral antiviral medication this year, as well as his vision of realising a "new capitalism" that focuses on economic growth and redistribution of wealth.
The ruling party has also called for a sharp increase in defence spending to acquire the capability to destroy ballistic missiles, amid China's increasingly assertive posture over Taiwan.
The largest opposition party, the Constitutional Democrats (CDPJ), led by Yukio Edano, has highlighted issues such as its support for same-sex marriage and different surnames for couples.