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Tens of thousands of SDF personnel to vote by absentee ballot.

TOKYO, April 5 Kyodo

Several tens of thousands of Self-Defense Forces personnel will vote in nationwide local government elections this month by absentee ballot as they have been deployed in areas severely damaged by the March 11 mega earthquake and ensuing tsunami, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

It will be the largest-ever absentee balloting by SDF members since around 2,000 personnel voted by mail in the House of Representatives election in 2009, when they were dispatched to the Indian Ocean for a refueling mission in support of U.S.-led antiterrorism operations.

Members have received ballot papers by mail from their residential municipalities to cast votes at city halls and other public facilities located near their deployment areas, according to ministry officials. They started casting ballots on Monday.

Among some 70,000 deployed Ground Self-Defense Force personnel, 20,000 have applied for absentee ballots and the number is expected to rise further. Around 5,000 Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel are also expected to vote by absentee ballot at polling facilities established on MSDF vessels.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Apr 11, 2011
Words:175
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