All national newspapers on Friday led with reports that official campaigning for the Upper House election on July 21 started on Thursday, with 370 candidates vying for the 124 seats being contested. In his kick-off speech in Fukushima, Prime Minister Abe called on voters to choose political stability, while the opposition focused on criticizing the government’s social welfare and economic policies. All dailies reported that 28% of the candidates are women, the highest ratio on record for an Upper House election.
Meanwhile, Friday’s Asahi reported on the findings of a comprehensive survey of policies supported by all candidates it conducted with a group led by University of Tokyo Professor Masaki Taniguchi showing that 85% of LDP candidates, 70% of Komeito candidates, and 29% of Nippon Ishin [Japan Innovation Party] candidates were in favor of strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance, while 60% of CDPJ and DPFP candidates opposed this policy. Most of the responses were given before President Trump’s remarks on the “unfairness” of the bilateral security treaty were reported.