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Official campaigning starts for Tokyo metropolitan assembly election.

TOKYO, June 14 Kyodo

Official campaigning kicked off Friday for the Tokyo metropolitan assembly election with more than 250 candidates expected to vie for the 127 seats, in a prelude to next month's upper house election in which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be tested on his handling of the government.

The focus is on how voters will evaluate "Abenomics," the government's policies aimed at boosting the deflation-mired Japanese economy through bold monetary easing and massive public spending.

With relatively high popularity driven by Abe's commitment to the economy, the Liberal Democratic Party is aiming to gain a majority with the New Komeito party in the assembly, currently dominated by the Democratic Party of Japan.

The Japan Restoration Party is also fielding candidates, following controversial remarks by its co-leader Toru Hashimoto regarding Japan's wartime military brothels that sparked anger abroad, particularly in South Korea.

The Tokyo metropolitan assembly election will provide an indication of national political strength, with each party trying to inject momentum into their campaigns for the House of Councillors election.

The DPJ currently holds 43 seats in the assembly, followed by the LDP with 39 and the New Komeito party with 23. The Japanese Communist Party has eight, followed by three for Hashimoto's Japan Restoration Party.

The LDP suffered a devastating defeat in the last metropolitan assembly election in 2009, paving the way for the then opposition DPJ to take the reins of the central government for the first time.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jun 17, 2013
Words:243
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