House of Councillor elections today
Around 60 million Japanese voters will be voting to elect 121 of the 242 representatives in the upper house or House of Councillors election today.
Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m. local time. A total of 367 candidates are standing for the 121 seats and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is expected to win a majority of the seats giving him a rare opportunity to hold control of both houses in the Diet or parliament for the next two years at least.
The LDP won the general election in December 2012 after being thrown out of office in 2009. Since December Shinzo Abe has been following an aggressive economic policy known as ‘Abenomics’ to try and restore the economic fortunes of the country. Currently it seems to be working with growth hitting 4% and the stock market up 40% since January.
Opinion polls consistently show the LDP on around 39% of the vote with the former governing party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) on around 10%. LDP’s partner party, the New Komeito Party (NKP) are on 8%. The LDP and NKP between them need to win 70 seats in this election to be assured control of the upper house.