Voting Starts for Lower House Election in Japan

Politics

Tokyo, Oct. 31 (Jiji Press)--Voting started on Sunday morning for a House of Representatives election in Japan, with attention focused on whether the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will secure 233 seats, or a simple majority, in the 465-seat all-important lower chamber of the country's parliament.

About 46,000 polling stations across Japan opened at 7 a.m. (10 p.m. Saturday GMT). Vote counting will begin as soon as balloting ends at 8 p.m.

The Lower House election is the first parliamentary poll held nationwide since last year's outbreak of COVID-19 and since Prime Minister Fumio Kishida took office early this month. It serves as an opportunity for voters to decide whether to give a fresh mandate to Kishida's administration to deal with the viral crisis and the country's slumping economy.

Kishida's LDP and its coalition partner, Komeito, face the challenge of five opposition parties fielding unified candidates in 213 of the Lower House's 289 single-seat constituencies, aiming to improve their chances of beating ruling bloc candidates.

The LDP, which scored a landslide victory in the previous Lower House election in 2017, is widely expected see its strength reduced, in the face of the unified candidates of the opposition camp led by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and public frustration over the government's responses to the coronavirus pandemic and other issues, including money scandals involving former LDP lawmakers.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press