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Abe casts absentee vote, heads to Okinawa to stump for LDP

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Ever on the stump in the run-up to Sunday’s judgment day, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cast absentee ballots for the Upper House election in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward on Tuesday before heading to Okinawa to continue his country-crossing campaigning for fellow Liberal Democratic Party candidates.

Abe, a Lower House lawmaker from Yamaguchi Prefecture, cast his vote for the single-seat prefectural constituency and another for the proportional representation at the Shibuya Ward office Tuesday morning.

Busy crossing the country to deliver speeches for LDP candidates, Abe doesn’t plan to go back to his hometown on election day Sunday.

“I always feel tense when I cast a ballot,” Abe told reporters in Shibuya. “I cast a ballot hoping the ruling parties will win a majority (of the Upper House) and stabilize politics.”

Media polls have all predicted Abe’s LDP-New Komeito coalition will win a majority in the chamber and finally put an end to the divided Diet.

Later in the day, Abe headed for Okinawa Island, where the local LDP branch is calling for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to be replaced by another base outside the prefecture.

This stance is at variance with LDP headquarters in Tokyo. The party has promised to promote the plan to build a replacement airstrip in Nago farther north on the island.

“Each local branch should have their reasons to say something about the election, but the official election promises (of the LDP’s head office) are all that matters,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.