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Japan ruling bloc to secure majority in July upper house race: poll

The National Diet building is seen in this file photo taken in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Sept. 28, 2017. (MainichiJunichi Sasaki)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's ruling parties are projected to secure a majority of the 125 seats up for grabs in the July 10 House of Councillors election, a Kyodo News survey showed Thursday.

    It also suggested that the pro-constitutional revision camp, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party and some small opposition parties, would maintain the two-thirds majority in the 248-member upper house needed to initiate any amendment.

    For the upcoming election, 124 seats -- 74 in electoral districts and 50 by proportional representation -- are contested, together with one left vacant in the other half of the chamber.

    The LDP and its junior coalition partner Komeito are projected to win more than 63 seats, according to the telephone survey conducted Wednesday and Thursday that received responses from over 38,000 voters.

    Kishida has set the goal of the coalition maintaining a majority in the upper house. With half of the 248 seats uncontested, the target only requires them to win a total of 56 seats this time, down from the 69 seats they had before the election.

    The LDP is expected to obtain 60 or more seats, up from its 55 contested seats and including the 19 seats it will likely maintain in proportional representation.

    Komeito appears set to hold firm by maintaining seven proportional representation seats in play, and it seems likely to hold seven electoral districts where it has fronted candidates.

    But the race still has room for significant change. In the survey, 31.2 percent of respondents said their vote is undecided in electoral district votes, while 15.4 percent said the same for proportional representation seats.

    Opposition parties are likely to limit their gains as they struggled to field unified candidates in single-seat constituencies.

    The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the biggest in the camp, could possibly return fewer than 20 of its 23 seats in contention.

    The Japan Innovation Party could be on course to more than double its six contested seats to 15, while the Democratic Party for the People may struggle to keep all of its seven seats. The Japanese Communist Party looks set to retain its six seats.

    The Social Democratic Party, whose survival is in question, could struggle to gain seats.

    The anti-establishment Reiwa Shinsengumi, which netted two proportional representation seats in the previous 2019 election, could gain a total of three seats from the Tokyo district contest and proportional representation voting.

    The LDP leads the pro-constitutional revision forces that also include Komeito, the Japan Innovation Party and the Democratic Party for the People.

    The LDP is aiming to "update" the supreme law that has never been amended since its 1946 promulgation, in part to explicitly mention the Self-Defense Forces in a revised version to clarify its status.

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