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A total of 848 people are preparing to run in the next general election, for seats in the House of Representatives, which must be held by autumn, a Jiji Press survey showed Thursday.

They will vie for 289 seats in single-seat constituencies and 176 proportional representation seats in the lower chamber of the Diet.

Observers are leaning toward the view that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will dissolve the chamber for a snap election after the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games end in September. The election has to take place before Lower House members reach the end of their term, which is Oct. 21.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has informally selected candidates in 265 single-seat constituencies.

In seven other constituencies, more than one person has shown interest in running as LDP candidates. The party has also decided not to field candidates in nine constituencies where its coalition partner, Komeito, has selected candidates.

This means there are only eight constituencies where new LDP candidates can be accepted. Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai recently said the vacancies will be filled in the near future.

Komeito plans to field candidates in nine constituencies, as it did in the previous Lower House election in 2017. It will withdraw from the No. 6 constituency of Kanagawa Prefecture but endorse a candidate in the No. 3 constituency of Hiroshima Prefecture.

The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan has informally selected candidates in 208 constituencies, while the Japanese Communist Party has done so in 123 constituencies. At present, the two parties are set to compete in 67 constituencies.

Hoping to boost their cooperation to oust the LDP from power, CDP leader Yukio Edano and JCP head Kazuo Shii have agreed to hold discussions so that their parties can unify candidates at least in some of these constituencies. But how closely they can align remains uncertain.

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), a key supporter of the CDP, is not eager about the party’s cooperation with the JCP. The JCP, for its part, wants to strike a policy agreement with the CDP and is seeking greater assistance from it.

Among other opposition parties, the Democratic Party for the People has chosen candidates in 22 constituencies and the Social Democratic Party in eight constituencies.

The CDP is set to compete with the DPP in three constituencies and with the SDP in two constituencies. The CDP intends to talk with the two parties on possible unification of candidates.

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) has informally selected 62 candidates, hoping to increase its presence in areas other than the Kinki western region — its political power base.

A total of 73 people are preparing to run in the 11 regional blocs for proportional representation, excluding those also set to run in single-seat constituencies.

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