Campaigning for the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election kicked off on Dec. 4, marking the start of a 12-day battle between candidates for 480 seats. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will attempt to retain control of the government while the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its partner New Komeito seek a majority in the chamber. Parties aiming to form a third political force amid continuing criticism of existing parties have also entered the spotlight.
Twelve parties are fielding candidates in the election — a record under the current electoral system — with about 1,500 candidates vying for 300 seats in single-seat constituencies and a further 180 seats in proportional representation blocs.
The lower house election is the first since August 2009, and the first following the DPJ’s rise to power that year. Voters will judge the party over its three years and three months at the government’s helm as an increase in the consumption tax and other issues come to the fore. At the same time, as no single party holds a majority in the House of Councillors, the post-election form of the government administration will remain a point of focus.
The doors opened for election participants to file their candidacy at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 4, and closed at 5 p.m. This time, the Tomorrow Party of Japan (Mirai no To), and Japan Restoration Party, which are aiming to step into national politics for the first time, have been slow to file their lists of candidates in proportional representation blocs.
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