Japan PM Dissolves Parliament Ahead of General Elections

Japan 's prime minister Taro Aso has dissolved its lower house of parliament Tuesday ahead of general elections in August.

The move was not unexpected. On July 13, Prime Minister said he would dissolve the lower house of the Diet some time this week.

Elections for new lawmakers will be held on August 30, said Jun Matsumoto, the chief Cabinet spokesman, at the time, CNN reports.

"My statements and what has been characterised as my changing policy positions have led the Japanese people to worry about and grow distrustful of politics," Taro Aso said shortly before the lower house was dissolved.

"As a result, the approval rating for the Liberal Democratic Party has fallen. I am deeply sorry," he added, Telegraph.co.uk reports.

Aso will meet the press at 6:00 pm (0900 GMT) to discuss his decision.

Meanwhile the move could throw his deeply divided ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) into further disarray, as it braces itself for a massive election defeat and risks handing power to the opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

The conservative LDP has governed Japan continuously since its foundation in 1955, except for one 10-month stretch in the early 1990s.

But the party has failed to find a lasting leader in recent years, electing three prime ministers since the popular Junichiro Koizumi stepped down in 2006.

The LDP lost to the Democratic Party in a 2007 upper house election.

Aso took office in September with a mission to revive the LDP, but his frequent gaffes, policy flip-flops and scandals by his ministers invited voter criticism, while the opposition surged in opinion polls.

The ruling party, some of whose members last week tried to unseat Aso to elect another leader to fight the election, will hold a meeting of lawmakers shortly before the parliament session to discuss Aso's decision, AFP reports.