TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida dissolved the lower house of parliament Thursday, paving the way for elections that will be the country's first of the pandemic.

At stake in the Oct. 31 polls will be how Japan faces a potential coronavirus resurgence and revives its battered economy, and whether Kishida’s government can emerge from the shadow of the nearly nine years that his conservative party have already held power — which some describe as dominating to the point of muzzling diverse views.

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