Japan Elects: 2021

On October 31st, voters across Japan will go to the polls for the first general election since 2017. All 465 seats in the powerful lower house, the House of Representatives, are up for election.

The election is the first major test for Japan’s new Prime Minister, Kishida Fumio – but it’s also the first significant electoral test the ruling LDP has faced since the resignation of long-serving leader Abe Shinzo in 2020. Perhaps even more importantly, it’s the first time Japan’s voters have had a chance to judge the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic at the ballot box.

Join Tokyo Review and our writers as we analyse and explain the run-up to the election, developments during the campaign, and all the way through to the aftermath of the results.

How does the Japan’s electoral system for the House of Representatives work? Find out in our explainer video.

The 2021 General Election Campaign

  • What’s Next for Japan’s Opposition?

    It’s hard to imagine a worse outcome for Japan’s opposition after suffering a major blow in the general election on October 31. Though outright victory was never a likely outcome, an increase of a few dozen seats or more would have provided the opposition with momentum going into upper house elections next year. It would…

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  • Are Japanese Voters Becoming More Extreme?

    Are Japanese Voters Becoming More Extreme?

    While prominent voices in Japanese politics may express nationalist views louder and more brazenly than in the past, Japan’s voters haven’t taken the bait – and have even provided a meaningful check on nationalists’ ambitions.

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  • Japan’s General Election and the Future of Decarbonization

    As Japan heads to the polls to choose a new government, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and opposition parties have positioned decarbonization as a key issue in their energy policies. While both camps support the use of renewable energy, the role of nuclear energy in Japan’s energy mix remains controversial, with the LDP and…

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  • Japan’s General Election: A Step Towards Marriage Equality?

    The results of the general election could be instrumental for the passage of legislation relevant for Japan’s LGBTQ+ community. The topic has become increasingly salient for Japanese voters, while topics such as “North Korea” and the “Northern Territories Dispute” have faded somewhat to the background. There is not a single major ‘vote match’ tool for…

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  • Japan’s General Election: A Primer

    On October 31, Japanese voters will elect the 49th House of Representatives after the Diet’s first full four year-term in 45 years. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito coalition will contest the general election under Kishida Fumio who has been in the prime minister’s seat less than one month. With Kishida scoring some…

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The Road to Election 2021

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