FOCUS: Speculation of Double Elections in Japan Emerging


Tokyo, Jan. 11 (Jiji Press)--Speculation is gradually emerging that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold elections for both chambers of the Diet, the country's parliament, simultaneously in summer although he has repeatedly denied such a possibility.

Some project that Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party this year will face an uphill battle in an election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, as its local chapters would certainly be exhausted after a series of local elections across the country.

But the LDP may have an advantage if the Upper House election and an election for the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber, are held at the same time, sources familiar with the situation said.

Against this background, speculation has it that Abe may dissolve the Lower House and set a subsequent general election for the chamber for the same date as that for the Upper House poll, the sources said.

"I'm not at all considering" such double elections, Abe said at a meeting in Tokyo on Monday. Although Abe made similar remarks at his New Year press conference on Jan. 4, an LDP official quoted the prime minister as saying to people close to him, "It is not known what will happen this year."

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Jiji Press