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House of Representatives election taking place Sunday

Date Posted: 2003-11-09

Sunday is election day in Japan, as voters go to the polls to select members for the House of Representatives. Here in Okinawa, 15 candidates are vying for six seats allocated to the Okinawa Prefecture, and the campaign is in full swing. All trappings of the Japanese election are in use, including campaign cars with loudspeakers, campaign girls, posters and flyers.

` According to a survey jointly conducted by Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper and Kyodo News Service, most voters say social security questions are foremost in their minds in deciding who to vote for. They are worried about their employment and pensions when they retire. The adverse economic conditions in the prefecture also weigh heavily on their decision.

The survey found that 36.8 percent of voters consider themselves as non-partisan, while 28.6 percent said that they support Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and the Liberal Democratic Party.

At the same time, some 40 percent said that they would at least seriously consider giving their vote to candidates of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan that recently joined forces with Liberal Party in order to unseat the long-ruling Liberal Democrats from power.

The election is widely seen as the key point for the survival of the Prime Minister and the future of the Japanese politics. “This year’s election is very interesting as Japan sorely needs a change in its government and some new thinking,” a likely voter in Naha City said, echoing those 75 percent of the surveyed who expressed similar opinions.

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