World Bulletin / News Desk
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was on track to win a majority of seats in Sunday’s voting for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan’s bicameral parliament.
As of approximately 10 p.m. (1300GMT), the LDP and its coalition partner Komeito were winning two seats for every one seat earned by the main opposition, made up of the Democratic Party (DP) and the Japan Communist Party.
It meant the LDP would probably win an outright majority even without its coalition partner.
It was not clear, however, whether it would win enough seats to gain the two-thirds majority it needs to amend the American-written constitution.
Most LDP candidates studiously avoided talking about the subject, preferring to tout the party’s economic program.
Noting that many undeclared remaining seats were very tight contests, DP Secretary General Yukio Edano said it vindicated his party’s controversial strategy of teaming up with the communists.
Voter turnout at approximately 36 percent was lower than the previous upper house election, even counting the number of new voters attracted to the polls by lowering the voting age from 20 to 18.