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LDP likely to win nearly 300 seats in election: poll

Kyodo

The Liberal Democratic Party is continuing its strong run heading into Sunday’s election and is on course to win close to 300 of the 480 seats in the Lower House, according to the latest Kyodo News survey.

The LDP and its ally, New Komeito, could together secure more than 300 seats, according to the telephone survey conducted over two days through Wednesday.

The survey covered roughly 63,200 eligible voters in 150 selected single-seat districts.

Projections for the remaining 150 districts were based on additional information gathered by Kyodo.

The Democratic Party of Japan, which swept to power with a landslide in the 2009 Lower House race, is expected to emerge Sunday with only around 60 seats, compared with its current strength of 230 seats, the survey indicated.

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), one of the so-called third forces challenging the DPJ and the LDP, is expected to come out of the election with fewer than 50 seats, according to the survey.

The party was founded by outspoken Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and is now led by former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, known for his hawkish foreign policy ideas.

However, the poll found a high rate of undecided voters, with 43.3 percent of the respondents saying they had not yet decided who they will vote for in their district contests and 40.4 percent said they hadn’t made up their minds on which party to vote for in the proportional representation segment, which will determine 180 seats.

If the LDP wins as many seats as the poll suggests, party leader Shinzo Abe would return as prime minister.

Among other third-force parties, the newly formed Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan) led by Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada, which is committed to phasing out nuclear power plants within 10 years, is projected to win around 15 seats, while Your Party, led by Yoshimi Watanabe who bolted from the LDP in 2009, is penciled in for a few more than 10 seats, according to the survey.

Between the single-seat districts and proportional representation, Abe’s party could win around 295 seats or more, while New Komeito is likely to win close to 30, according to the survey.

The Japanese Communist Party may fail to retain its pre-election strength of nine seats and the Social Democratic Party may only win one or two seats, the survey found.