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As campaigning for the Oct. 31 general election enters the final stretch, a pre-election agreement between the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party to rally around unified candidates in as many districts as possible is facing tough questions about its effectiveness.

One of the constituencies where the two parties agreed not run against each other — so as not to split the opposition vote — is the Hokkaido No. 4 district. Centered around western Sapporo, the port city of Otaru and the mountain resort of Niseko, the district is considered a test case for how the CDP-JCP agreement will work in the rest of the nation.

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