1,180 line up to run for 480 seats in Lower House, according to poll

Close to 1,200 people are planning to run in the general election for the Lower House, which is expected to take place in late June, according to a Kyodo News survey compiled Monday.

The 1,180 potential candidates said they will vie for a spot in the 480-seat lower chamber, which comprises 300 single-seat districts and 180 proportional representation seats from 11 regional blocs around the nation.

The figure does not include those wanting to file candidacies in both seat systems.

About 1,067 people are expected to file candidacies for single-seat constituencies, compared to 1,261 who ran in the previous election in 1996, while 113 intend to stand for election in the proportional representation system.

Of those running for the single-seat constituencies, 299 are members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and 222 are from the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition party. The DPJ also plans to back 28 candidates not affiliated with any political party.

The LDP and the DPJ are expected to battle each other in 218 single-seat constituencies. Of the DPJ candidates, 210 are members of the DPJ and eight are DPJ-backed independents.

The LDP and its partners in the tripartite ruling coalition — New Komeito and the New Conservative Party — are competing with each other in 35 districts and are likely to make adjustments to avoid intra-alliance competition.

Although the potential for competition within the alliance has been reduced due to the secession of the Liberal Party from the coalition in early April, members of both the LDP and the New Komeito have expressed their intention to compete with each other in 16 districts.

The LDP and the New Conservative Party have overlapping candidacies in 15 districts. All three parties are currently hoping to field candidates in the Wakayama No. 1 district.

The LDP must reshuffle candidates to avoid in-house contests in 13 districts. The LDP is not likely to have anyone running in 15 districts.

Most political parties are expected to have candidates running for single-seat constituencies file candidacies for the proportional representation blocs, to seek a double chance of retaining or gaining a seat.

Those intending to enter the competition solely in proportional representation seats include 44 from the LDP, 18 from the DPJ, 26 from New Komeito and 20 from the Japanese Communist Party.

The New Conservative Party has three serving members elected by proportional representation, but is likely to forgo fielding candidates for the system this time.

With six months left in the Lower House term, from Wednesday there will be no by-elections, even if a representative becomes incapacitated.