Thanks to Japan’s fairness guidelines, NHK offers free air time to all political parties participating in national and regional elections, a service that earlier this month resulted in the leader of the Party to Protect Citizens From NHK, which advocates the elimination of NHK’s mandatory viewing fees, appearing on the broadcaster and calling for its destruction.

Otherwise, the official campaign for the House of Councilors election has been pretty boring, since those fairness guidelines restrict the press from covering any candidate or party more than any other candidate or party during the designated period. It’s one reason why they conduct so many voter surveys: It’s an ostensibly equitable form of newsgathering. Although results differed in terms of how much better one party was doing compared to another, they all pointed to two outcomes: The ruling Liberal Democratic Party would, again, win a sizable majority and voter turnout would be low, maybe lower than ever.

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