Japan's new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday dissolved the lower house of parliament for a general election at the end of this month.
The elections will be held on Oct. 31 after the four-year term of lower house members expires on Oct. 21.
Kishida won the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election on Sept. 29 and was chosen as premier on Oct. 4. He is seeking a fresh mandate to rule the world's third largest economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We need to face the judgement of the people, and I feel very solemn," the Tokyo-based Kyodo News quoted him as saying.
Of the 465 seats of the lower house, the LDP and its partner Komeito won 310 in the last election in October 2017.
Opposition parties are also making their bid to oust the LDP from power.
"The LDP cannot change. We need to change the government itself," said Yukio Edano, leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. He criticized the LDP's coronavirus response as "always running behind."