Turnout record low in Japan Lower House election

Voter turnout in Japan’s House of Representatives election on Sunday came to a record low of 59.32%, the internal affairs ministry said Monday.

The figure for single-seat constituencies slipped below the previous low of 59.65% logged in 1996, when the current election system combining single-seat constituencies and regional proportional representation blocs was introduced.  The latest tally was down 9.96 percentage points from 69.28% in the previous Lower House election, in 2009.

The sluggish outcome apparently reflects voter confusion as a total of 12 political parties fielded candidates following successive small party establishments in the run-up to the election. In addition, the timing of the election may have affected voter behavior, as the Lower House election was held in December, a busy month for the public, for the first time in 29 years.

Voter turnout fell from the 2009 election in all of 47 prefectures, with the lowest number of 53.89 registered in Kochi Prefecture. Toyama Prefecture suffered the biggest drop of 16.86%, followed by Hokkaido with 14.92% and Kagoshima Prefecture with 14.7%.  Turnout came to 60.14% for men and 58.55% for women.