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Japan's ruling party unlikely to gain upper house majority
Updated: 2004-07-04 12:21

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) seems not to secure a majority and even the lower limit goal of 51 seats in the upcoming House of Councilors election, according to media polls published Sunday.

The Asahi Shimbun's poll found that the LDP would most likely take 47 out of the 121 seats up for grab. On the contrary, the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is expected to beat the LDP, especially in the proportional representation constituency, and likely to take 51 seats.

Polls conducted by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun and Kyodo News agency also took on similar perspective.

The LDP needs to gain at least 56 seats for a majority. The party brought up a moderate 51 seats goal, a number it had held until April when a member quitted for a lower house by-election. Party leader and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi have to at least maintain the current seats to quell attacks from interior opponents.

Despite the premier is reminding electorate of his economic and diplomatic achievements, the Japanese are still backing away from him, mainly due to the unpopular pension reform laws and deployment of troops in Iraq.

The disapproval rating for his cabinet rose to 43.5 percent while the approval rating dropped to 40.7 percent, showed the survey published last week. It was the first time in two years that the two ratings changed order.

The election result does not waver Koizumi's premiership, but a dwindled influence in the upper house would cut his authority in the party. His tenure is scheduled to end in September 2006.

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