Japan heads to polls as change expected, major parties vying for premiership
TOKYO (AFP) - Voters began casting ballots in Japan on Sunday for a general election likely to return long-ruling conservatives to power after three years in the wilderness.
Polling stations opened at 7am (6am, Singapore time) across the nation in a lower house election, officials said, with major parties vying for premiership.
The government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was predicted to get a drubbing from an electorate that observers said would be handing the reins reluctantly to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Hawkish one-time PM Shinzo Abe appeared set for a return to office, after a campaign in which he has sketched out a harder line on foreign policy, as tensions rise with China over disputed islands in the East China Sea.