On 28 September, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe dissolved the lower house of the Diet, prompting an early election to be held on 22 October.
In addition, main opposition party leader Seiji Maehara announced that Democratic Party (DP) candidates would seek to run under the auspices of the newly formed Hope Party (HP) and that the two parties would seek a full merger after the election. The HP was formed on 27 September and is led by influential Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, who defected from Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to run as an independent in the August 2016 Tokyo gubernatorial election.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options ihs.com/contact