7 must-know facts about Japan’s snap election - will Shinzo Abe win?

Japan goes to the polls on Sunday. What is there to know?

1. What are the Japanese voting for?

Japanese voters are voting for all 465 seats in the country’s House of Representatives. This will decide the country’s prime minister and cabinet.

2. What’s the voting system?

Representatives to the House are elected via a mixed-member proportional voting system. There are 289 single member constituencies, as well as 11 proportional districts.

3. How much?!

Campaigns can be expensive, but the initial cost of running in the UK is a mere £500 deposit. While that is still a significant barrier to entry for many, the cost in Japan is much, much steeper. According to the Tokyo Review, it costs a deposit of 6 million yen to stand for the proportional list and 3 million to run in a FPTP seat.

That’s £40,000 and £20,000 respectively in GBP.

4. What the main parties in Japan?

  • The centre-right Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has dominated Japanese politics since after the Second World War. The party has been in power since 2012 following a brief three-year-rule period in opposition. The LDP currently has 290 representatives in the House.
  • The Kibo No To Party is a conservative party led by the current governor of Tokyo, and are a brand new party.
  • Komeito are a centre-right party, which currently has 34 seats, and currently govern with the LDP.
  • The Communist Party.
  • The Constitutional Democratic Party.
  • The Nippon Ishin no Kai.
  • The Social Democratic Party.
  • The Japanese Kokoro.

5. What happened at the 2014 election?

In 2014, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has ruled since the 2012 election, gained seats and votes in the House. The Democratic Party gained ground, but dissolved in 2016.

6. Why is the election happening?

According to the BBC, Abe called the election to stand strong against North Korea. The site also speculates that the election is an opportunity to take advantage of a feeble opposition.

7. What do the polls say about the election?

The polls indicate that Abe’s LDP is likely to remain the largest party in the House of Representatives. The latest Yomiuri Shimbun poll puts them on 33% of the vote.