Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso dissolved parliament's lower house on Tuesday and called for national elections on August 30
In televised remarks, Mr. Aso apologized for his failings and admitted that his party's internal turmoil had contributed to recent local election losses.
Recent opinion polls indicate Mr. Aso's Liberal Democratic Party is headed for defeat in the upcoming election.
One poll found 23 percent of respondents favoring the LDP. Another poll found only 14.8 percent supporting the ruling party.
Mr. Aso took office last September. He has suffered low approval ratings for the way he handled the economic crisis and for various controversial statements.
An LDP loss in the general election would interrupt the party's half-century of dominance in Japanese politics.