TOKYO - Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has dissolved the lower house of Japan's parliament, paving the way for a general election likely to end his Democratic Party of Japan's three-year hold on power.
Noda followed through Friday on an earlier pledge to call elections after the opposition Liberal Democratic Party agreed to back several key pieces of legislation, including a deficit financing bill and electoral reforms.
The Cabinet was expected to quickly announce elections for Dec. 16.
The election will likely result in a weak coalition government divided over how to fix the country's myriad problems.
Although the LDP, which led Japan for most of the post-World War II era, may win the most seats in the 480-seat lower house, polls show it will fall far short of a majority.