From Yomiuri Shimbun (English site):
Prime Minister Taro Aso will dissolve the House of Representatives at its plenary session starting at 1 p.m. Tuesday, sources have said.
At an extraordinary Cabinet meeting following the dissolution, the government is expected to formally decide the schedule of the lower house election, with campaigning to officially commence Aug. 18 and the vote set for Aug. 30.
It will be the first general election since September 2005, when then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi led the Liberal Democratic Party.
The key question at the forthcoming election is whether the ruling coalition of the LDP and New Komeito will be able to hold on to power, or if they will be replaced by a new government led by the Democratic Party of Japan.
At a Cabinet meeting set for 8 a.m. Tuesday, the prime minister is expected to formally propose dissolution of the lower house and Cabinet ministers will then be asked to sign a document agreeing to the dissolution. After the Emperor signs the Imperial decree proclaiming the dissolution, lower house Speaker Yohei Kono will read it out and the house will be dissolved.
Aso is expected to hold a press conference at 6 p.m. Tuesday to declare his determination for the election campaign.
However, despite the lower house not yet having been dissolved, the ruling and opposition parties already have, for all intents and purposes, started campaigning.
According to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey, as of Sunday, the number of would-be candidates, some of whom are running in single-seat constituencies and proportional representation seats, already had exceeded 1,200--more than the 1,131 in the last general election.
The LDP and New Komeito are trying to secure a majority of seats--at least 241--by pointing to what they say is the success of the Aso Cabinet's economic measures. The parties also plan to question the financial resources necessary to support the DPJ's policy pledges and challenge the DPJ's foreign and security proposals.
The DPJ will argue that it is time for a change of regime and will highlight its own policies, including creation of a children's allowance of 26,000 yen per month and an income compensation system for individual farming households. The DPJ intends to form a coalition by joining forces with the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party in the election campaign.
I didn't see anything when I looked at the English site of Asahi Shimbun.
Ngl when I read it, I was like "Wat. They dissolved an entire parliament???" Is this equivalent to the U.S. dissolving the House of Reps? I wish I were a little more familiar with the Japanese government. I'm very intrigued w/ their term for their legislature (The Diet).