Tokyo, Jun 22 (EFE).- Campaigning for Japan’s upper house elections began on Wednesday amid concerns about inflation and a debate on the country’s defense policy.
At stake are half the seats of Japan’s House of Councilors (124) plus an extra one to fill a vacancy in the other half.
The elections will be held on July 10 and the members will be elected for a period of six years.
Of the total, 75 seats will be decided based on electoral districts across the country, while the remaining 50 will be decided through proportional representation.
More than 530 candidates are expected to contest the elections, local news agency Kyodo reported.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s ruling coalition is aiming to retain its majority in the upper house for which it must win at least 56 of the contested seats.
The coalition, composed of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, held 69 seats before the upcoming elections.
The campaign for the elections, viewed as a barometer of the government’s popularity, is expected to focus on rising prices, especially those of energy, food and raw materials, which have been exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war and is increasing pressure on Japan, which is heavily dependent on imports.
The war has also fueled a debate on the defense policy of the Asian country, where there have been increasing calls, especially from the ruling party, to boost military spending and amend laws to make way for a shift from its current defensive strategy to a more offensive one that would allow for preemptive strikes, among other points.
It remains to be seen whether the ruling coalition or any of the parties in favor of amending the constitution obtain the necessary seats – along with those they already hold in the other half of the chamber – to secure the necessary two-thirds majority in the upper house to carry out that amendment.
In previous elections, the main opposition parties joined forces to counter the ruling coalition. EFE