TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan holds an upper house election on Sunday that is key to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s bid to tighten control of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to allow him and his partner junior Komeito, to pass legislation.

Here are the main facts about the major political parties in Japan.

Political cartoons about world leaders

Website: jimin.jp/english/

Number of seats in the upper house to be re-elected this time: 55

Number of seats in the upper house awaiting re-election in 2025: 56

The Conservative Party has been in power almost continuously since its founding, alone or in coalition, and has strong ties to business and bureaucracy.

In the face of China’s maritime expansion and North Korea’s missile and nuclear development, the LDP aims to sharply increase defense spending, using NATO’s 2% target as a guide. gross interior devoted to defence.

That would be a departure from the decades-old Japanese practice of keeping defense spending at around 1% of GDP, but public support for defense building is rising after Russia invaded Ukraine.

As opposition parties call for a 10% sales tax to be reduced or abolished to help the public cope with soaring food and energy prices, Kishida believes the tax should be maintained for support the aging country’s social security system.

Number of seats in the upper house to be re-elected this time: 14

Number of seats in the upper house awaiting re-election in 2025: 14

Backed by a secular Buddhist organization, the Soka Gakkai, the Komeito party was a junior partner in PLD-led governments for 10 years until the ruling alliance’s electoral defeat in 2009. But it returned to power with the LDP in a lower house election in December 2012. .

The Komeito is more moderate on security issues than the PLD and it proposes to include defense in an exclusively defensive security policy. The party seeks to promote the interests of the less fortunate in matters of economic policy.

CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF JAPAN (CDPJ)

Website: cdp-japan.jp/english

Number of seats in the upper house to be re-elected this time: 23

Number of seats in the upper house awaiting re-election in 2025: 22

The centre-left CDPJ is Japan’s largest opposition party. Its roots are in the Democratic Party of Japan, which defeated the LDP-Komeito alliance in 2009 and held power for three years.

As part of measures to respond to soaring prices, the party is calling for temporarily cutting the sales tax in half to 5% and offering 10,000 yen ($73) a month as a subsidy to tenants.

It advocates investing 200 trillion yen in renewable energy and energy conservation by 2030 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% or more from 2013 levels. is more ambitious than the government’s target of reducing emissions by 46% by 2030.

In a poll by the Kyodo news agency, 28.3% of respondents said they would vote for the LDP in the July 10 proportional representation election, followed by the CDPJ’s 8.2% and the 7.2% of Komeito.

JAPAN INNOVATION FESTIVAL (JIP)

Website: o-ishin.jp/ (Japanese only)

Number of seats in the upper house to be re-elected this time: 6

Number of seats in the upper house awaiting re-election in 2025: 9

The Reform Party saw its seat count nearly quadruple in lower house elections in October. He hopes to maintain this momentum during the vote in the upper house and to hound the CDPJ, his biggest rival in the opposition camp.

The PIJ joins the ruling LDP in calling for a big increase in defense spending and a constitutional review to make specific reference to the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), as Japan calls its military.

The charter, if taken at face value, prohibits a standing army, prompting some scholars to question the legality of the SDF.

JAPANESE COMMUNIST PARTY (JCP)

Website: jcp.or.jp/english/

Number of seats in the upper house to be re-elected this time: 6

Number of seats in the upper house awaiting re-election in 2025: 7

The political party with the longest history in Japan, the JCP celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

The party opposes the LDP’s plan to drastically increase defense spending and warns that military expansion would only invite an arms race in the region, which would escalate tensions.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY FOR THE PEOPLE (DPFP)

Website: new-kokumin.jp/ (in Japanese only)

Number of seats in the upper house to be re-elected this time: 7

Number of seats in the upper house awaiting re-election in 2025: 5

Considering the development of human resources as the key to economic growth, the party calls for free education up to high school and the issuance of education bonds to double the budget for education, science and technology to 10 trillion yen per year.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by David Dolan, Robert Birsel)

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