Japan’s Ruling LDP Set to Win Tokyo Vote Ahead of National Poll

Japan’s capital goes to the polls today for an election that surveys indicate Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition will win, reflecting his strong support ahead of a national upper house election next month.

In a survey published in the regional Tokyo Shimbun newspaper June 19, about 34 percent of respondents who had decided on a party said they would vote for Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, compared with 11 percent for the Democratic Party of Japan.

While the 13-million strong city is one of the few places in Japan where the population is growing, Tokyo faces problems common to the whole country, including aging infrastructure and a dearth of children. Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose is spearheading the city’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics, setting aside $4.5 billion to fund the event.

The Nikkei newspaper said June 20 its calculations indicate the LDP and its coalition partner New Komeito will win more than half the 127 Tokyo assembly seats up for grabs, giving the parties outright control of an assembly that features a number of regional and smaller parties.

The LDP itself is likely to take more than 50 seats, replacing the DPJ as the largest party, the paper said. The DPJ held 43 seats heading into the poll, while the LDP and New Komeito had 62 between them.

About 36.5 percent of respondents to the Tokyo Shimbun survey said the most important issues in the election were health, welfare and measures to deal with the falling birthrate and aging population. Employment and economic steps were the second-most cited, at 22 percent. The paper polled 1,538 people by phone on June 14 and 15 and did not give a margin of error.

Economic Strategy

Abe and his cabinet ministers say his three-pronged economic strategy, consisting of unprecedented monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and a plan to stimulate private investment, is working. Gross domestic product was up 4.1 percent on an annualized basis in January-March, compared with 1.2 percent in the previous quarter.

A survey published by the Yomiuri newspaper on June 11 found 44 percent of respondents planned to vote for the LDP in the proportional representation section of the national upper house election on July 21, compared with 7 percent for the DPJ.

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