Factbox: Key numbers to watch in Japan lower house election
By Kiyoshi Takenaka
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's new prime minister, Fumio Kishida, will face his first major test on Sunday as the nation goes to polls to elect a new lower house tasked to prepare the country for the next wave of COVID-19 infections and to mend the pandemic-hit economy.
Here are key numbers to watch in the election as Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and junior partner Komeito seek a fresh voter mandate.
233 SEATS - SIMPLE MAJORITY
Kishida aims to maintain a simple majority, 233 seats or more of the 465-member lower chamber, for the ruling bloc. The LDP and Komeito controlled nearly two-thirds of the lower house before it was dissolved earlier this month.
Media polls suggest the ruling coalition is set to keep safely its majority, and could reach the so-called "absolute stable majority" of 261 seats - enough for it to take all the parliamentary committee chairs and maintain majority at each committee, making it easy for them to push through bills.
The LDP, however, is expected to lose some seats after its hefty victory in the previous election in 2017, fought under Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest serving premier.
Some newspaper polls show the LDP, which held 276 seats before dissolution, is fighting hard to maintain simple majority for itself. If Kishida lost majority for the LDP, he would see his grip on power weaken ahead of an upper house vote next year.
THREEFOLD JUMP SEEN FOR JAPAN INNOVATION PARTY
The reform-minded Japan Innovation Party (JIP) could triple the number of its lawmakers as its support base expands from the western major city of Osaka and surrounding areas to the rest of the country, several surveys in major newspapers show.
The JIP, which held 11 lower house seats before dissolution, could win up to 36 seats, an outcome that could make it the third-biggest party at the chamber, the Asahi daily said.
Although JIP is in opposition, like Kishida's LDP, it is for revising the U.S.-drafted, post-war constitution and letting the defence budget break away from a narrow range around 1% of GDP to bolster Japan's security posture.
10% - RATIO OF FEMALE LAWMAKERS
Women accounted for 10% of lower house lawmakers before the chamber was dissolved this month, far behind France's 40% and 27% in the United States.
Japan comes in 120th in the World Economic Forum's global gender gap report due mainly to limited presence of women in political leadership.
In the upcoming election, 33 women are on the LDP ticket, accounting for 10% of its total candidates, while the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan has fielded 44 female candidates, or 18% of its overall candidates.
54% - VOTER TURNOUT IN PREVIOUS ELECTION
Voter turnout came to 54% in the 2017 lower house election, the second-lowest in post-war Japan, meaning nearly half of the electorate failed to exercise their right to vote.
Turnout of the youth was particularly low in 2017, with only three out of every 10 people in the 20-24 age bracket having cast their votes, prompting lawmakers to pay more heed to the needs of the elderly, who are far more likely to vote.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
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