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The Lower House was dissolved Thursday, marking the first important step toward an election on Oct. 31 in which Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hopes to earn a solid mandate for his policy agenda less than one month since becoming the nation’s leader.

Campaigning for the general election, the first since October 2017, will officially kick off Tuesday and a total of 465 seats will be up for grabs — right now the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito hold 305. The prime minister is aiming to maintain the coalition’s majority, which requires 233 seats. Meanwhile, Akira Amari, the LDP’s secretary-general, indicated in an interview with the Nikkei daily that he hopes to see the ruling coalition capture “a stable majority” of 244 seats.

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