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2017 Lower House Election: Official Campaigning Kicks Off; Public to Evaluate Abe’s Half Decade in Power

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Political party leaders seek support Tuesday from audiences on streets across the country after official campaigns for the House of Representatives election kicked off. Clockwise from top left: Kibo no To leader Yuriko Koike, Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe, Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, Japanese Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii, Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Edano and Nippon Ishin no Kai leader Ichiro Matsui. – The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports: Official campaigning for the 48th general election of the House of Representatives kicked off on Tuesday, with the biggest issue being how to evaluate Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s nearly five-year administration.

Three major forces — the ruling bloc of the Liberal Democratic Party led by Abe as party president and its partner Komeito; Kibo no To (Party of Hope) and Nippon Ishin no Kai; the Japanese Communist Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Social Democratic Party — are vying for seats in the 12-day campaign period for the Oct. 22 election.

In the election, a total of 465 seats — 289 in single-seat constituencies and 176 in proportional representation blocs — are up for grabs, down 10 seats from the previous lower house election in 2014. A majority in the lower house is 233.

A total of 1,180 candidates registered to run in the race. In the previous election, 1,191 candidates registered.

The leaders of each party made their first speeches, including stump speeches, on Tuesday morning.

In a pastoral suburb of Fukushima, Abe strongly called for strengthening pressure on North Korea, which is continuing provocations with its nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches. “We must coordinate with the international community to counter the North Korean threat,” the prime minister said.

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Abe also vowed to proceed with such policies as making preschool education free of charge by changing the allocation of the increased revenue accrued from a consumption tax rate hike to 10 percent planned in October 2019. “The consumption tax will be used to support the child-rearing generation,” he said.

During her stump speech near the west exit of JR Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward, Kibo leader Yuriko Koike stressed her party’s plan to postpone the tax hike and to compensate for the decrease in revenue by drastically reviewing expenditures … (read more)

via The Japan News

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