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Ruling coalition seen gaining majority in upper house election

The Yomiuri Shimbun

People listen to a candidate’s speech in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Sunday.

The Yomiuri Shimbun The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito is expected to win at least 63 seats in the House of Councillors election next Sunday, more than half of the 124 seats up for grabs, according to an analysis by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan is expected to win more than 20 seats, while in constituencies with one seat up for grabs (32 electoral districts), the LDP is seen as having the upper hand.

The focus of attention in the upcoming election will be whether the ruling parties, along with Nippon Ishin no Kai and independents who have taken a positive stance on amending the Constitution, can maintain 164 seats, giving the coalition the two-thirds majority of total seats needed to initiate Diet deliberations. In this case, 85 seats must be won.

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

The ruling LDP appears to be on track to win a total of 22 constituencies with one seat up for grabs, including Fukushima, Yamanashi, Nara and Nagasaki. It also has the advantage in the proportional representation segment. It is expected to win at least one seat in all four constituencies — Ibaraki, Shizuoka, Kyoto and Hiroshima — which have two seats up for grabs, and possibly two of the six seats in the Tokyo constituency.

Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the LDP, is in good shape and could win seats in all seven constituencies where it fielded candidates. The number of proportional representation seats is likely to exceed the party’s target of six.

The CDPJ is ahead in the multiple-seat constituencies of Hokkaido, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures. Including the proportional representation segment, their number of seats may increase from the current nine up for grabs to more than 20. The Democratic Party for the People, however, is struggling. The party is seen leading races in only three constituencies — Nagano, Shizuoka and Aichi — and will have difficulty keeping hold of its four seats in the proportional representation segment.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Communist Party is putting up a good fight in urban constituencies such as Tokyo and Saitama. Combined with likely gains in the proportional representation segment, the JCP is projected to top its six-seat gain in the 2016 upper house election.

Ishin is poised to win two seats in the Osaka constituency, where it has a strong support base. The party is also seen making strides in the proportional representation contest, with total gains likely to surpass its seven seats up for grabs.

The Social Democratic Party is expected to retain its one seat in the proportional representation segment. Reiwa Shinsengumi, a new political group, stands a chance of winning one seat.

More than 30 percent of voters in prefecture-wide constituencies and more than 20 percent in the proportional contest have not indicated how they will vote. The situation could thus change during late-stage campaigning.

Half of the seats in the upper house are contested every three years. There are 124 seats up for grabs in the upcoming election — 74 from prefecture-wide constituencies and 50 from the proportional race. Contesting them are 370 candidates — 215 in the prefecture-wide races and 155 in the proportional contest.

This analysis is based on Yomiuri Shimbun telephone surveys conducted nationwide from Friday to Sunday and local coverage of election districts. The survey received 26,826 responses. The response rate was 51 percent for landline and 59 percent for mobile phones.

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