Overseas voters off to early start

Kyodo News

Early ballots were cast Wednesday for the Aug. 30 Lower House election by voters living overseas, with Japanese embassies in Beijing and Seoul and the Consulate General in Sydney opening polling sites.

The Democratic Party of Japan is widely forecast to win, ending more than five decades of nearly uninterrupted rule by the Liberal Democratic Party.

Overseas voters appeared eager to cast their ballots in the pivotal poll.

“LDP rule has continued just too long,” corporate executive Yushiro Mizukoshi, 55, said at a polling booth set up at the Japanese Consulate General in Sydney. “The biggest problem is the party’s corrupt ties with the bureaucracy.”

Early voting also began Wednesday in Beijing.

“This is the first time I have voted as a Japanese overseas. The domestic situation is a matter of concern because we live away from Japan,” said Naoki Aoyama, 41, an executive with a trade group. “Japanese leaders have changed in succession in a short time. Japan’s political situation should be stabilized.”

Many embassy officials said the number of inquiries about the voting procedure is much higher than for the previous Lower House election, in 2005.