Japan to hold election for upper house on July 21

The Japanese national flag seen outside a bank in Tokyo, Japan, in 2017.
The Japanese national flag seen outside a bank in Tokyo, Japan, in 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan will hold an election for the upper house on July 21, the government said on Wednesday (June 26), effectively kicking off campaigning for half the seats in the less powerful of parliament's two chambers.

Expectations had simmered that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would also call a snap election for the more powerful lower house, but the Japanese leader has said he was not considering such a move.

Mr Abe appears to hope a successful performance as host of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, this Friday and Saturday will bolster his ruling bloc's results.

But the election also follows a furore over a government report that suggested many elderly would not be able to live off pensions alone. The fuss has eaten into Mr Abe's support rate, but backing for his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) still dwarfs that for fragmented opposition parties.

The LDP-led coalition is expected to keep its majority but probably with a reduced presence in the chamber.