With Sunday’s general election just four days away, most local media in Japan are now predicting a landslide win for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party. Of the 475 seats that are up for grabs, the LDP is likely to at least hold on to the 295 seats they had before the parliament was dissolved.
But that doesn’t mean the voting on Sunday will be a throwaway match. Here are key races and nail-biter districts which could see plenty of drama, including party leaders falling from grace, scandal-tainted Cabinet members getting knocked out and the end of the road for some heavyweight politicians.
The Democratic Party of Japan won a whopping 308 seats in the 2009 general election and ousted the LDP from power. They fell flat three years later in the 2012 election, only winning 57 seats. While the largest opposition party is expected to add some seats on Sunday, some of the key DPJ figures are facing tough competition in their districts.
DPJ president Banri Kaieda is up against LDP’s Miki Yamada in Tokyo’s 1st district, who he lost to in the 2012 campaign. Mr. Kaieda managed to obtain a seat only through the proportional representation system.
Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan followed the same path as Mr. Kaieda in 2012, losing to LDP’s Masatada Tsuchiya but keeping his seat via proportional representation. He will face Mr. Tsuchiya again in Tokyo’s 18th district.
In the proportional representation system, voters choose from a list of parties with each party receiving seats in proportion to the percentage of votes.
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