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Voter turnout plummeted to a record postwar low

Kyodo

Voter turnout Sunday set a new postwar low for Lower House elections, the government said Monday.

Turnout sank to 59.32 percent for single-seat constituencies and 59.31 percent for the proportional representation segment, according to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry. Both figures represent a drop of 9.96 points from the previous election in 2009.

The previous record low for a House of Representatives election was set in 1996, when turnout fell to 59.65 percent for single seats and 59.62 percent in proportional representation, forcing Socialist Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama to be replaced by the Liberal Democratic Party’s Ryutaro Hashimoto.

The number of early voters came to 12,039,570, down 13.91 percent from 2009, the ministry said.

The most notable surges in voting saw turnout reach the upper 60 percent range. This occurred in 2005, when postal privatization was the main issue, and in 2009, when the Democratic Party of Japan ousted the LDP, ending over half a century of nearly unbroken rule.