July 12, 2007

Election campaign kicks off in Japan

After 1 postponement, the official campaigning for the July 29 upper house election got under way on Thursday, opening the highlight of this year's political contest in Japan that could determine the fate of embattled Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after just over nine months in office.

With the recent controversies that surround the Minsters of Japan, Prime Minister Abe, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party, as well as chiefs of other political parties delivered their speeches on the first of the 17 days of campaigning on the streets of Tokyo and various corners of the country with focuses on mismanaged pension account data and a host of other issues.

As of early Thursday afternoon, 377 people had filed candidacies for the 121 seats at stake in the first major national election for Abe since he took office last September. Half of the 242 seats in the House of Councillors are up for grabs every three years. Aside from the pension fiasco, other main issues likely to be in play include whether or not to amend the Constitution, politicians' handling of campaign funds, the problem of disparities between haves and have-nots and taxation.

via [JT]

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