Japan Data

Kishida’s Election Dash: Election to Come in First Month of Term


Prime Minister Kishida Fumio faces his first lower house election less than a month after taking office, setting new records for the shortest time between becoming leader and dissolving the House of Representatives and the subsequent period until voting day.

On October 4, Kishida Fumio, Japan’s new prime minister, announced that he would dissolve the House of Representatives on October 14, ahead of a general election on October 31. Campaigning will begin on October 19.

Article 54 of the Japanese Constitution states, “When the House of Representatives is dissolved, there must be a general election of members of the House of Representatives within forty (40) days from the date of dissolution, and the Diet must be convoked within thirty (30) days from the date of the election.”

Under the present constitution, the shortest time between dissolution of the lower house and an election was previously the 20 days between November 28 and December 18, 1983, under the premiership of Nakasone Yasuhiro. This came after a boycott of the house by opposition parties that left it incapable of action following the guilty verdict handed down to former Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei—still a powerful serving lawmaker—in the Lockheed bribery trial in October. However, the 17-day gap in 2021 sets a new record. Incidentally, the longest period was the full 40 days taken from July 2009 by Prime Minister Asō Tarō ahead of the election won by the opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

Facing the need to call an election by October 21, when House of Representatives members’ terms were due to expire, Prime Minister Kishida also had the shortest time between becoming leader and dissolution of the lower house. The previous record was for Hatoyama Ichirō, who became prime minister on December 10, 1954, and dissolved the house 45 days later on January 24, 1955. For Kishida, however, this period was just 10 days.

Shortest and Longest Periods Between Dissolution of House of Representatives and General Election

Prime Minister Dissolution Date Election Date Number of Days
Kishida Fumio Oct. 14, 2021 Oct. 31, 2021 17
Nakasone Yasuhiro Nov. 28, 1983 Dec. 18, 1983 20
Mori Yoshirō June 2, 2000 Jun. 25, 2000 23
Hashimoto Ryūtarō Sep. 27, 1996 Oct. 20, 1996 23
Abe Shinzō Nov. 21, 2014 Dec. 14, 2014 23
Abe Shinzō Sep. 28, 2017 Oct. 22, 2017 24
Asō Tarō Jul. 21, 2009 Aug. 30, 2009 40

Created by Nippon.com based on public records from the House of Representatives.

(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

Liberal Democratic Party election House of Representatives Kishida Fumio