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Lawmakers in Japan's lower house cheer the dissolution of the chamber on Sept. 28. Opposition parties boycotted the session. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

Japan's Abe dissolves lower house, calls snap election

Prime Minister seeking to strengthen his hand, but gambit could backfire

MITSURU OBE, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- Japan's lower house of parliament has been dissolved after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to call a snap general election, in a gambit that some now believe may backfire.

The dissolution was announced on Thursday as an extraordinary parliamentary session was convened. The general election, expected  to be held on Oct. 22, will set off a three-week scramble by the 475 members of the lower house to fight for reelection. The number of seats has been cut to 465 -- the smallest in the postwar period -- to reduce voting disparities between urban and rural districts.

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