Japan's parliament has voted to approve Fumio Kishida as prime minister, with the new leader announcing a cabinet including both holdovers and fresh faces.

The soft-spoken scion of a Hiroshima political family, Mr Kishida beat popular vaccine chief Taro Kono to win leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) last week.

Mr Kishida, exchanged fist bumps with MPs after he was formally elected by parliament, as public broadcaster NHK said he was set to dissolve the body next week and call an election for 31 October.

The surprise move, amid widespread expectations for a poll in November, appears to be aimed at exploiting a traditional honeymoon period accorded to new governments and a sharp drop in the number of coronavirus infections.

Outgoing prime minister Yoshihide Suga enjoyed support ratings of about 70% soon after taking office about a year ago, but was hit criticism of his handling of the pandemic, leading him to make way for a new face to lead the LDP through the election.

Mr Kishida, 64, a former foreign minister with an image as a low-key consensus builder, beat out three contenders to lead the party.

Shortly after the parliament vote, Mr Kishida's new cabinet was announced, with more than a dozen fresh faces but holdovers from the Suga government largely populating the most important portfolios.

Both Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi will retain their jobs.

Mr Motegi is a Harvard-educated political veteran who has taken the lead in negotiating key trade deals, while Mr Kishi is the brother of former prime minister Shinzo Abe.

The finance portfolio will go to Shunichi Suzuki, who is replacing his own brother-in-law Taro Aso.

Mr Suzuki is also a veteran politician and the son of a former prime minister. He has served in government before, holding both the Olympics minister and environment minister posts.

The cabinet includes three women, among them Mr Kishida's one-time rival for the leadership, Seiko Noda, who was named minister in charge of addressing Japan's declining birthrate.

The posts of vaccine minister and digital minister also went to women, with several members of the cabinet appointed to their first ministerial post.

Mr Kishida has also rewarded those who supported him in the leadership race, including rival Sanae Takaichi who backed him in the second-round vote against Mr Kono, and has been made LDP policy chief.

Mr Kono meanwhile has been made party communications chairman, something of a step down from his recent role heading the vaccine roll-out and past posts as defence and foreign minister.

As prime minister, Mr Kishida faces a raft of challenges, from the post-pandemic economic recovery to confronting military threats from North Korea and China.

His leadership campaign emphasised his plans to correct government missteps on the pandemic, including a pledge to unleash new economic stimulus.

Much of Japan has been under virus emergency measures for a large part of the year, with the restrictions finally lifting last week as new infections decline.

More than 60% of the population is now fully vaccinated, but there are concerns that the healthcare system could easily become overwhelmed again in a new virus wave.