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The 44 prefectural assembly elections slated for April 13 will see 3,702 candidates vying for 2,634 seats, according to a Kyodo News survey released earlier this week.

Campaigning for the 15th quadrennial local elections will officially start April 4.

The number of woman candidates is expected to hit a record high 352.

The Liberal Democratic Party has the most candidates with 1,489. This is up by 14 from the last elections, in 1999, and up by 52 from 1995.

Two other parties have also increased candidates.

The Democratic Party of Japan is expected to field 265 candidates, up by 12 from 1999. The party is putting up more than 20 candidates in Hokkaido, Kanagawa, Aichi and Osaka prefectures.

New Komeito, a partner in the LDP-led ruling bloc, will have 180 candidates, up by 11 from four years ago.

The Japanese Communist Party plans to field 344 candidates, 102 fewer than the previous elections and roughly matching 1995 levels.

“We have cut down on the numbers to concentrate on maintaining the seats we already have,” a JCP official said. “In the end, we will probably have around 400 candidates.”

Other opposition parties also plan to run fewer candidates. The Social Democratic Party plans to reduce its lineup by 27 to 109, while the Liberal Party will have 38 candidates, down by eight.

The New Conservative Party, another ruling-bloc partner, will field four.

Independent candidates are expected to number 1,194, down 171 from 1999.

April 13 will also see 11 gubernatorial elections, including in Tokyo, and a mayoral race in Sapporo.

There will also be assembly elections in the nation’s 12 largest cities.

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