Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has dissolved the lower house of the parliament ahead of a snap election.
The poll, announced on Monday and which comes a year early, will take place on 22 October.
Abe is seeking a fresh mandate amid a rebound in his approval ratings and the ongoing North Korea nuclear crisis.
The right-wing hawk became prime minister in 2012, and his Liberal Democrat Party leads a ruling coalition that controls the Diet.
Abe suffered a drop in popularity earlier this year over allegations of cronyism.