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  • Japan Lower House election campaign kicks off

Japan Lower House election campaign kicks off

People listen to a politician's speech during an election campaign in Osaka on October 19, 2021 on the first day of campaigning for the Japan's upcoming general election. (AFP)
People listen to a politician's speech during an election campaign in Osaka on October 19, 2021 on the first day of campaigning for the Japan's upcoming general election. (AFP)
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19 Oct 2021 12:10:25 GMT9
19 Oct 2021 12:10:25 GMT9

TOKYO: The official campaign period for the Oct. 31 election of the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber of Japan’s parliament, began on Tuesday, with the biggest focus being placed on the choice of government.

Voters will be asked to choose whether to continue the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida under the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito or to have the opposition force led by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan assume the reins of government, pundits said.

As the Lower House election is the first national poll to be held on a countrywide scale amid the novel coronavirus crisis, key issues include COVID-19 countermeasures and economic stimulus measures.

This will be the first Lower House election since October 2017. The election can thus also serve as an opportunity for voters to evaluate the administrations of Kishida’s two immediate predecessors–Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga.

The election will be held 27 days after Kishida took office as prime minister and 17 days after he dissolved the Lower House, both the shortest since the end of World War II.

The terms of the members of the dissolved lower chamber were to expire Thursday. It will be first time under Japan’s current Constitution for a Lower House general election to take place after the term expiration date.

Over 1,000 candidates are slated to submit their candidacies to vie for a total of 465 Lower House seats–289 for single-seat constituencies and 176 for the proportional representation system.

Before the Lower House dissolution, the number of seats held by the ruling camp stood at 305–276 seats by the LDP and 29 seats by Komeito. The leading opposition CDP had 110 seats, the Japanese Communist Party 12 seats, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) 11 seats and the Democratic Party for the People eight seats.

As a victory-or-defeat line for the ruling camp, Kishida has set a target of securing a simple majority of 233 seats.

The CDP, the JCP, the DPFP, Reiwa Shinsengumi and the Social Democratic Party have decided to field unified candidates for more than 200 single-seat constituencies, aiming to oust the LDP-Komeito coalition government, which returned to power in 2012.

JIJI Press

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