Although no date has been set for the next general election for the House of Representatives, the ruling and opposition parties have already decided to field a total of 811 candidates, believing it will be held this year.

According to a Kyodo News survey, 723 people will probably be fielded as candidates in 300 single-seat constituencies and another 88 may run in the proportional representation section. Many of the 723 single-seat candidates will also run for proportional representation seats.

Current Lower House members still have about 18 months of their terms remaining, but some politicians are speculating that the Lower House will be dissolved sometime this year.

Of the 480 seats in the chamber, 300 are elected through single-seat constituencies and the remainder by proportional representation.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has selected 291 candidates for the single-seat constituencies, while the Democratic Party of Japan has chosen 197.

The two other partners in the ruling coalition — New Komeito and the newly launched New Conservative Party — have each selected 11 candidates for the single-seat districts.

The three ruling parties are expected to compete against each other in 10 districts.

In single-seat constituencies, 92 candidates are expected to be fielded by the Japanese Communist Party, 43 by the Liberal Party and 32 by the Social Democratic Party.

Forty people have already decided to run in the single-seat constituencies as independents.

The DPJ, the Liberal Party and the SDP are expected to make an effort to field a single joint candidate in each single-seat district.

In the proportional representation section, the LDP plans to field 40 candidates. The LDP has about 10 senior lawmakers over the age of 73, the party’s recommended retirement age. Among them are former Prime Ministers Yasuhiro Nakasone, 84, and Kiichi Miyazawa, 83.

The DPJ will have to decide in which single-seat constituencies 13 members elected from the proportional representation section should stand, as the party adopted a rule banning candidates running only for the proportional representation section.

Koichi Kato, former LDP secretary general; former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka; and Kiyomi Tsujimoto, former head of the SDP policy board, resigned from the Diet in 2002 amid scandals.

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