Tokyo, April 29 (Jiji Press)–A total of 299 people are currently planning to run in the triennial election this summer for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan’s parliament, according to a Jiji Press survey.
Of them, 200 are preparing to run as candidates in prefectural constituencies and 99 as proportional representation candidates.
In the election, expected to be held on July 10 if the ongoing parliamentary session is not extended, 125 of the Upper House’s 248 seats will be contested.
While the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, Komeito, have almost finished selecting their candidates, opposition parties, including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, have been facing delays in putting up candidates for crucial single-seat prefectural constituencies where one seat each is up for grabs.
The focus of the upcoming Upper House poll will be on whether the ruling camp can steadily secure seats to allow Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to maintain his grip on power over a long period, or the opposition camp can block such an attempt.
The LDP sets a goal for the ruling coalition to maintain its majority in the Upper House, including uncontested seats. This is not a high bar, as the ruling camp can keep a majority, or at least 125 seats, even if it loses 12 of its 68 contested seats.
The LDP has picked 48 official candidates for 44 of the 45 prefectural constituencies and 28 candidates for proportional representation seats. The party plans not to field a candidate in the Yamagata single-seat constituency, out of consideration for its ties with the Democratic Party for the People, an opposition party to which the incumbent belongs, but the policy has been met by persistent backlash.
Komeito aims to secure wins for all candidates–seven in constituencies and seven for proportional representation. As the party’s relationship with the LDP is said to have become partially shaky, however, electoral cooperation between the two parties may not go smoothly, observers said.
Meanwhile, the CDP, whose 23 seats will be contested, plans to field 29 candidates in constituencies. It has selected nine official candidates for proportional representation.
Opposition parties’ efforts to cooperate in the Upper House election are proceeding with difficulty. Although the opposition camp fielded unified candidates in all single-seat constituencies in the past two Upper House polls, the CDP is expected to be competing with the Japanese Communist Party or the DPFP in a total of 17 constituencies this time.
Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) aims to double its six seats to be contested. It has selected 13 candidates in constituencies and 22 candidates for proportional representation seats.
The JCP is set to field 32 candidates in constituencies and five candidates for proportional representation seats. The DPFP will endorse 12 candidates in constituencies, including three incumbents in Yamagata, Aichi and Oita, and six proportional representation candidates.
Taro Yamamoto, leader of Reiwa Shinsengumi, an opposition party, resigned as a member of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber, to run in a prefectural constituency in the Upper House election. The Social Democratic Party and the NHK Party are also preparing to field candidates.