Hiroko Shinohara frets about one issue Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has noticeably avoided on the campaign trail ahead of Sunday's election: the need to cut the nation's generous social welfare program that supports millions of people.

"I hope my own pension is OK, but I need to work as long as I can and save money, just in case," said Shinohara, 67, as she tended her family's traditional Japanese sweet shop in Tokyo.

"I really worry about people in their 30s and 40s now. Will there be any money left for them when they're old?"