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Gov't officials say Japan lower house to dissolve mid-Sept, but PM Suga cites COVID delays

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (Mainichi/Natsuki Nishi)

TOKYO -- A number of senior government officials told the Mainichi Shimbun on Aug. 31 that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga intends to dissolve the House of Representatives in mid-September. However, the prime minister made comments to reporters on Sept. 1 stating the current state of coronavirus infections means the lower house cannot be dissolved.

    According to senior sources, the prime minister intends to carry out his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)'s personnel changes and a Cabinet reshuffle next week, with the dissolution of the lower house to come in mid-September. The LDP presidential election, currently set to be formally announced on Sept. 17 and with voting on Sept. 29, would be postponed until after the general election. Suga is reported to be reviewing a proposal for an Oct. 5 official campaign start date, and voting on Oct. 17.

    But on Sept. 1, the prime minister said, "The greatest priority is coronavirus countermeasures. The current severe conditions are not a situation to be dissolving the lower house in." Suga was responding to a question fielded by a group of reporters at the prime minister's office about whether he would proceed with a mid-September lower-house dissolution.

    (Japanese original by Keiko Takahashi and Shiho Fujibushi, Political News Department)

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