Official upper house campaign to start Thursday

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe official House of Councillors election campaign will start Thursday, with the future of the social security system, including the pension system, likely becoming the largest point of contention.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito are expected to aim for a majority of seats by calling for “the stability of politics.”

Four opposition parties, including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, will unite against the ruling camp by fielding joint candidates in all of the 32 constituencies nationwide with one seat up for grabs.

A Yomiuri Shimbun survey showed as of Tuesday that about 370 people would run in the election. There were 389 candidates in the 2016 upper house election. The ratio of female candidates in past upper house elections reached its highest at 27.6 percent in 2001, but a higher percentage is expected for the upcoming election.

The election campaign will last for 17 days before the voting and vote counting on July 21.

Based on the revised Public Offices Election Law that added six seats to the upper house total, the number of seats to be contested in this election has increased by three to 124 seats (74 single-seat constituencies and 50 proportional representation).

On top of the social security system, issues in the race will likely include an evaluation of the Abenomics economic policy package implemented by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, a consumption tax rate hike issue and policies on diplomacy and security, including handling of North Korea. Also the LDP wants to ask the public whether to advance debate over constitutional revision.

Abe, who also is the president of the LDP, aims for his sixth consecutive win in national elections since the 2012 House of Representatives election. Abe set a decisive line for the ruling coalition’s victory at 123 seats, which includes 70 seats it holds that are not being contested in this election.Speech

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