Voter turnout in Sunday’s House of Councillors election was 48.80 percent, which would be the second lowest on record, according to a Kyodo News estimate.
The low turnout calculated as of 1:20 a.m. Monday, despite a record number of early ballots for an upper house election, compared with 54.70 percent for the previous House of Councillors election in 2016.
The lowest-ever turnout for an upper house election was 44.52 percent in 1995, while the second lowest was 50.72 percent marked in 1992, according to data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
Voter turnout in the two pairs of western Japan prefectures with small populations — Tottori and neighboring Shimane, and Tokushima and adjoining Kochi, were particularly low. The constituencies were both united in a revised election law in 2015.
In Shimane, turnout fell sharply to 54.04 percent from 62.20 percent in the previous upper house election.
Political analysts said this year’s upper house election failed to receive much attention due to a lack of clear-cut differences on issues. Torrential rain brought by a typhoon may have also affected voting in southwestern Japan.
The turnout was calculated on voter data released by the election management committees of all 47 prefectures in Japan.