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

8:20 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken to the streets, telling voters that his Liberal Democratic Party is the only one that can protect the people from the growing threat of North Korean missiles.

Abe told a crowd in Tokyo’s busy Shibuya district that it is also only his party that can implement appropriate measures to deal with Japan’s rapidly aging and declining population.

“I must seek your support in order to overcome this national crisis,” Abe said.

Abe dissolved the lower house of parliament earlier Thursday, calling an election on Oct. 22.

Opposition lawmakers scrambled to regroup around Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike’s new party to challenge Abe’s ruling party.

5:30 p.m.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, who launched a new political party to challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party, says she will continue to pursue her responsibility as head of the city, denying speculation she might run in the upcoming lower house election.

Koike said at a news conference on Thursday that “I will stay in the city and put my energy to lead Tokyo’s preparations ahead of the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics.”

Koike, who served in top posts in the ruling party and its government before becoming Tokyo’s governor, led her local party to a landslide victory in the July city assembly election, dealing Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party a crushing defeat.

Abe dissolved the lower house of parliament on Thursday and called an election on Oct. 22.

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.