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Japan's ruling coalition wins majority of seats contested in House of Councillors election

This file photo shows the National Diet Building in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on May 1, 2019. (Mainichi/Masahiro Kawata)

TOKYO -- The ruling coalition comprising the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition partner Komeito have secured a majority, or at least 63, of the seats that were contested in the July 21 House of Councillors election, according to ballots that have already been counted and the Mainichi Shimbun's coverage, among other information.

When combined with the 70 seats that were not being contested in the latest election, the ruling coalition accounts for at least 133 of the 245 seats in the upper house, surpassing the majority threshold of 123 seats.

In the House of Councillors, half of the seats are up for grabs every three years, with each upper house member serving a term of six years. The number of seats being contested this year stood at 124, three more than during the previous election in 2016, while the number of seats that were not being contested stood at 121.

Prime Minister and LDP President Shinzo Abe had stated that his goal in the upper house race was for the ruling coalition to maintain the majority in the House of Councillors, including the 70 that were not up for grabs this year, which meant the coalition needed to win 53 of the seats that were contested. Senior LDP officials, meanwhile, set their victory line for the ruling coalition at the majority of the seats in the upper house that were up for grabs.

To propose constitutional amendments in the Diet, those initiating the proposal must have two-thirds of the seats in both the House of Councillors and the House of Representatives. A major point of focus of the upper house election was whether political forces favoring constitutional revision, including the ruling coalition and the conservative opposition Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party, JIP), would be able to secure two-thirds, or 164, of the upper house seats by winning 85 of the seats up for grabs this time.

Prime Minister Abe, who will continue to lead his administration, will have served as prime minister for a total of 2,886 days come Nov. 19 this year, tying the record for the longest term in office set by Prime Minister Taro Katsura, who served from 1901-1906, 1908-1911, and 1912-1913.


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