High voter turnout in legislative elections

Japanese voters head to polls Sunday for legislative elections that could see the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan, led by Yukio Hatoyama (pictured), unseat the ruling conservatives of Prime Minister Taro Aso for the first time in five decades.


AFP - Early voter turnout in Japanese lower house elections Sunday was slightly higher than in a poll four years ago, the government said, after the first four hours of voting.

By 11am (0200 GMT), 21.37 percent of Japan's 103 million eligible voters had cast their ballots, up slightly on 20.61 percent at the same time in the 2005 election, the ministry of internal affairs said.

The turnout for the 2005 election was considered high, at 67.51 percent, although it was below the post-war high of 76.99 percent in 1958.

Polling stations close at 8:00 pm (1100 GMT) with the first exit poll results expected shortly thereafter.

Opinion polls have forecast a landslide win for the main opposition party, the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan, over Prime Minister Taro Aso's long-ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party.

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