TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's government and ruling Democrats have decided to hold a general election on December 16, a senior ruling party lawmaker said on Wednesday.

The decision was made hours after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he would dissolve the lower house on Friday for a snap election next month, which his party looks certain to lose.

Jun Azumi, acting secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, made the comments to reporters after meeting senior government officials.

(Reporting by Sumio Ito; Writing by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)