Voting Underway for Lower House Election in Japan
Tokyo, Oct. 31 (Jiji Press)--Voting was underway on Sunday 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.
At 6 p.m., voter turnout stood at an estimated 31.64 pct, up 1.65 percentage point from the previous Lower House election in 2017, according to the internal affairs ministry.
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.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]