Japan election: Osaka polling station opens 20 minutes late because official overslept

A man casts his vote for the lower house election at a polling station in Tokyo. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO - A voting station in Osaka opened 21 minutes late on Sunday (Oct 22) because the person-in-charge overslept as Japan went to the polls, public broadcaster NHK reported.

About 20 voters were in line when the station in Takatsuki city opened at 7.21am (6.21am Singapore time), NHK said, adding that at least two voters had left because they could not wait.

A committee member with the Takatsuki Municipal Election Administration told NHK of the boo-boo: "We apologise to everyone who has been caused inconvenience, and we will do our best to prevent any such lapses in future."

Millions of Japanese are casting their ballots for their new government, with polling stations open from 7am to 8pm. Official results are expected on Sunday night.

The affected voting station in Osaka's Takatsuki city will still close at 8pm, along with others nationwide.

Some 1,180 candidates are running for the 465 seats up for contest in the Lower House election that pits the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) against two weeks-old parties: the right-leaning Party of Hope (Kibo no To) and the left-leaning Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP).

Polling was also expected to be affected by Typhoon Lan, which lashed parts of the country with strong winds and heavy rain.

Voting was delayed by some 20 minutes in Kochi, western Japan, as landslides blocked a road, preventing election officials from arriving in time at a polling station, reported NHK.

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