People in JAPAN are casting their votes to choose their representatives to the Lower House of the Diet. Snap polls were called by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the face of the rising threat from North Korea. As many as 1,180 candidates are in the fray for 465 seats.
Two hundred eighty-nine lawmakers will be elected directly while and 176 through a system of proportional representation.
Candidates called on voters to weigh in on the performance of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, a scheduled tax hike, whether to amend the Constitution, nuclear policy and Japan’s approach to North Korea.
In most parts of the country, polling stations opened early this morning. The counting of votes will start immediately after the polling. If, as predicted, Mr Abe is re-elected, he will be on track to become Japan’s longest-serving post-war leader.
Mr Abe is hoping his party will win a two-thirds majority, allowing him to make constitutional changes. In particular, he wants to change Japan’s self-defence force into a national army for the first time since the Second World War.
Mr Abe announced the election on 25th of last month, saying he needed a fresh mandate in order to deal with the national crises facing Japan. The crises include North Korea, which has threatened to ‘sink’ Japan into the sea.