The world’s third-largest economy will hold a general election this Sunday as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks a fresh vote of confidence amid a sputtering economy. Here are a few important factors to keep in mind before the big day.
Confusion is high among voters on the need for an early election since there’s little opposition to Abe’s policies. Last month, the country’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), agreed with Abe’s decision to delay a second consumption tax increase, calling it “unavoidable,” after Japan tipped into recession on the back of April’s tax increase to 8 percent from 5 percent.
Opinion polls show the DPJ doesn’t pose a threat to Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and neither do the two other major opposition parties: the Japan Innovation Party and the Japan Communist Party. The DPJ is seen winning 70 of the 475 seats in parliament’s lower house, while the other two parties are set for equally minor gains. On the other hand, the LDP and the Komeito party are expected to secure over 300 seats combined. The coalition held 326 seats when the lower house was dissolved last month.
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