Voting Underway In Japanese Local Elections



Voting underway in Japanese local elections

Voters across Japan are casting ballots in the second round of local elections to pick mayors and local assembly members. The races coincide with two Lower House by-elections that are seen as a bellwether for the Upper House elections this summer.

One of the by-elections is taking place in Okinawa. The ruling and opposition blocs are effectively facing off over plans to relocate a US airbase within the southern prefecture. The constituency, Okinawa's number-3 electoral district, includes the Henoko district of the city f Nago, where the central government is carrying out land reclamation to relocate the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station.



As of 11 a.m., turnout was 7.08 percent, 0.15 points lower than the Lower House election two years ago.
Seventeen percent of voters cast their ballots in advance.

The other Lower House by-election is in the number-12 Osaka district. It follows the death of the incumbent representative, who was a member of the main governing Liberal Democratic Party. Four candidates are contesting the seat in a heated race.

Turnout as of 11 a.m. was 12.91 percent, 0.29 points lower than the Lower House election two years ago.
10 percent of voters cast their ballots in advance.

Meanwhile, a total of 721 local elections are being held to choose mayors and municipal assemblies, including mayors of major cities such as Mito, Nagasaki and Oita. Eleven of Tokyo's 23 wards are holding mayoral elections.
Key issues include how to deal with declining populations, child care and support for seniors.

Vote counting will begin after polling stations close at 8 p.m.