The Latest on Japan's prime minister dissolving parliament to call elections (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will seek a public mandate on his tougher diplomatic and defense policies to deal with escalating threats from North Korea.

Abe spoke at a meeting of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party minutes after dissolving parliament's lower house Thursday for an election. He urged his fellow members to gain understanding his North Korea policies. Abe said his responsibility is safety and peace for the people of Japan.

The election for the 475-seat lower house, the more powerful of Japan's two-chamber parliament, is expected on Oct. 22.


12:15 p.m.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved the lower house of parliament and called a snap election for next month as expected.

The speaker of the house, Tadamori Oshima, on Thursday read a statement of dissolution, ordered by Abe.

The election is expected to be held on Oct. 22.

The dissolution of the more powerful of Japan's two-chamber parliament comes more than a year before required by law.