Official campaigning got under way Thursday for the Upper House election later this month in a key test of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's leadership over the past seven months.
Abe has set the goal of wresting control of the chamber from the opposition parties in the July 21 election and solidifying the Liberal Democratic Party's power base so he can achieve his key policy objectives, including firing all three of his economic policy "arrows" and rewriting the pacifist Constitution.
The opposition camp is struggling to erode Abe's relatively high support rate, which he has enjoyed since the LDP trounced the Democratic Party of Japan in the December general election and returned to power.
Half of the 242 seats in the Upper House are up for grabs every three years under a combination of districts and proportional representation. About 430 candidates are expected to vie for the 121 seats at stake.
Economic damage from the recent strong earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture and nearby areas in southwestern Japan stands between some 2.4 trillion yen and 4.6 trillion yen, an estimate by the Cabinet Office said Monday. (Jiji Press)
Hyogo Prefectural Police have arrested a 67-year-old man for attacking a 61-year-old female neighbor and her daughter, who later died, at an apartment building in Amagasaki City, reports NHK (May 20). (Tokyo Reporter)