In Japan, the campaign for the country's general election officially got underway on Monday (17 September) as candidates began registering to contest the 511 seats to be filled in the October 7th poll.
In Japan, the campaign for the country's general election officially got underway on Monday (17 September) as candidates began registering to contest the 511 seats to be filled in the October 7th poll. Nearly nine hundred candidates are expected to file papers with the Election Management Commission Office by the deadline on Tuesday (18 September) night. Campaigning began informally soon after Parliament was dissolved on September 7th, but on Monday (17 September) it reached a new pitch with party leaders holding rallies and parading through constituencies.
SYNOPSIS: Former Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira called the election to try and increase the Parliamentary strength of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). He told a rally in Tokyo that Japan's political will must be reinvigorated to meet the economic problems of the 1980s.
The main issue in the campaign to date is whether the LDP should introduce a new tax. Mr. Ohira has said that a general consumption tax might have to be added on to the price of retail goods for a temporary period to raise more money for the state, but there has been strong opposition to the proposal both from within the LDP itself and from opposition parties.
The Japanese Socialist Party led by Mr. Ichio Asukata is seeking to rally reformist forces to form a coalition. The party has accused the LDP of trying to strengthen conservative rule and the interests of big business. Mr. Asukata said that voters would be choosing between a large tax increase for the week or tax fairness, structural corruption and clean politics.