• Kyodo


The Liberal Democratic Party is on course to win a majority in the Dec. 16 general election, returning to power after three years, a Kyodo News survey showed Wednesday, based on responses from voters who are not among the significant ranks of the undecided.

The main opposition party, headed by Shinzo Abe, and its ally, New Komeito, could together secure nearly 300 seats in the 480-seat House of Representatives, according to the telephone survey conducted over two days through Wednesday covering 123,700 eligible voters randomly selected across the country.

The Democratic Party of Japan, which swept to power in the previous Lower House election in 2009, putting an end to the LDP’s almost 50 years of uninterrupted rule, may only secure around 70 seats, compared with its current strength of 230 seats, the survey showed.

It found that the so-called third forces challenging the DPJ and LDP — Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan) and Your Party — are struggling to increase their support.

In the poll, however, 56 percent of thee respondents said they had not yet decided on who to vote for in the single-seat constituency contests and 48 percent said they remained undecided on which party to vote for in the proportional representation segment, where 180 seats are up for grabs.

If voting proceeds in line with the poll, Abe would become the next prime minister, ousting the DPJ headed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. Abe has said his party plans to form a coalition with New Komeito, backed by the major lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai.

Nippon Ishin, founded by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and now headed by former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, may secure no more than 50 seats, while Nippon Mirai, headed by Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada, may win only around 15 seats, the survey showed.

Abe was briefly prime minister from 2006 to 2007.