“I will dissolve the House of Representatives on the 28th” of September, Abe told reporters, a precursor to a general election.
Mr Abe said he was seeking a fresh mandate to overcome “a national crisis” amid rising threats from North Korea.
His decision comes amid rebounding approval ratings after a record low over the summer and with the opposition largely in disarray.
Mr Abe did not set a date for the vote but Japanese media suggest it will be on 22 October. (AFP/BBC)