Japan to dissolve parliament, setting stage for end-of-month election

Japan to dissolve parliament, setting stage for end-of-month election
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Japan's ruling party has dissolved parliament and is promising major stimulus spending as it prepares for elections at the end of October. 

New Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the move with his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in a strong position in polls and promising a "new capitalism" should it remain in power, Reuters reported

The vote will be on Oct. 31 with campaigns officially beginning Oct. 19.

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LDP has focused on recovering from the coronavirus, which was a major point of contention during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo and has continued to hold down the economy. 

"We'll do everything we can to tackle the coronavirus," Kishida said at a press conference. "In order to achieve strong economic growth, it's not enough to rely just on market competition. That won't deliver the fruits of growth to the broader population."

Kishida wants to pass a robust economic stimulus package, begin vaccine boosters at the end of this year and strengthen hospitals in the country, according to Reuters.

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows Japan has recorded more than 1.7 million COVID-19 cases and more than 18,000 deaths from it since the start of the pandemic. 

While Japan was an early laggard among wealthy nations in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations, it has now fully vaccinated almost two-thirds of eligible citizens. 

The biggest challenger to Kishida's LDP is the Constitutional Democrats (CDPJ), which takes a more progressive stance regarding social issues such as gay marriage, according to Reuters. Kishida is not in support of gay marriage.

However, CDPJ is far behind in the polls for the upcoming election.