Fumio Kishida, Japan’s new Prime Minster, dismantled the lower house of Parliament on Thursday. This opened the door to elections that will be the first in the country’s pandemic.

The Oct. 31 polls will determine how Japan responds to a possible coronavirus resurgence, revives its economy and whether Kishida’s government can emerge after nearly nine years of his conservative party being in power. Some describe this as being so dominant that it is limiting the ability of diverse viewpoints to be heard.

Kishida spoke Thursday to reporters and stated that his party was the only one capable protecting Japan against security threats from the region.

He stated that the opposition parties could not even agree on the Japan-U.S. Security Alliance and the Self-Defense Force and they cannot run this country.” “The future of Japan is at stake in the upcoming elections.”

After being elected prime minister of the parliament just 10 days ago, Kishida stated that he seeks a mandate to implement his policies.

He said, “I would like people to choose who can demonstrate the future vision for a post-corona Society.”

Yoshihide Sug, who was only a year in office as prime minister, was replaced by Kishida. His perceived high-handed approach to dealing with coronaviruses and his insistence on holding the Tokyo Olympics despite the rising number of virus cases shook support.

Japan’s new leader has been given the task of rallying support for the incumbent party and has pledged to follow a politics of trust and empathy.

Last week’s policy speech was his first. He promised to increase the country’s response to pandemics, revitalize the economy, and strengthen defenses against threats by China and North Korea. He also vowed to expand economic and social activities through more testing and vaccination certificates.

The four main opposition parties have agreed that they will cooperate on certain policies, including addressing the gap between the rich and poor that they claim widened under the government of Shinzo abe, the first preceding Suga from one ruling party.

Tadamori Okiyama, the speaker of this house, declared the dissolution of the legislature. The 465 legislators in the lower chamber, which is more powerful, rose and shouted “banzai!” three times before they left. Tuesday is the official start of campaigning for all 465 vacant seats.

Abe was a conservative and pulled the Liberal Democratic Party to the right, becoming Japan’s longest-serving prime minster.

The LDP and New Komeito, its coalition partner, won 310 seats in that vote, which is two-thirds the chamber’s total.

After the short rule of the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan (2009-2012), opposition parties have had difficulty winning enough votes to form government. However, weaker support for Suga (under whom the ruling party lost three by-elections to parliament and a local vote in this year’s election) might make it possible for opposition candidates.

Yukio Edano of Japan’s opposition Constitutional Democratic Party said to NHK that he hopes the election will be “a first step towards changing politics.”

Yuichiro Tamaki of the Democratic Party for the People criticized Kishida for dissolving the lower chamber so early in his tenure. Tamaki stated that it was unclear what policies he seeks with a mandate of the voters.

He stated that his party would propose economic policies to increase the pay of workers.

Tamaki stated, “We want to create an environment where opposition and ruling blocs are in close competition.”