FACTBOX - Upper House Election Procedure In Japan

FACTBOX - Upper House Election Procedure in Japan

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 21st July, 2019) Japan is holding elections to the parliament's upper house on Sunday.

In accordance with the constitution of Japan from 1946, the parliament is the supreme legislative body in the country. It consists of two chambers: the lower house is the House of Representatives (Shugiin), and the upper one is the House of Councillors (Sangiin), which are elected through a universal, direct and secret vote.

One person cannot be a member of both chambers at the same time. Members of the lower house serve a four-year term, while members of the upper house are elected for six years but every three years half of its members are re-elected.

In accordance with the electoral reform carried out in 2018, the number of upper house seats will increase from 242 to 248 over the next two elections: there will be 245 seats after the 2019 elections, and 248 seats after elections in 2022.

In 2019, the positions of 121 members will be at stake, and there will be three new seats. Thus, 124 members of the upper house will be elected this year.

In the 2022 elections, 124 members will be elected: the elections will affect the other half of the upper house, and three new members will be elected.

Out of the 248 members, 100 are elected by party lists under the proportional representation system in the nationwide election district, and 148 are elected under the majority system in the districts that are coincided with Japanese prefectures.

This year, 50 members will be elected by party lists, and 74 others will be elected based on a majority system.

From one to six members can be elected in each majoritarian district.

Candidates cannot run both in the nationwide election district and in the majoritarian district at the same time.

Japanese citizens aged over 30 can be elected to the upper house.

All Japanese citizens who have reached the age of 18 are allowed to vote. There shall be no discrimination based on race, gender, religion, social status and origin, education, property or income.

In many municipalities, voters receive notifications with the information about the date and place of the voting.

If there is no notification, the voter can also vote if he or she is registered on the voter list.

The voting is held from 7 a.m. local time (22:00 GMT on Saturday) to 8 p.m. (11:00 GMT).

In order to avoid violations, the first person who comes to the polling station becomes a witness to the contents of the ballot box. After confirming that it is empty, the ballot box is closed and the voting process begins.

The ballots are made of a special material called polypropylene resin so that they do not get damaged or wet and are designed in a way to unfold in the ballot boxes.

Ballots in the nationwide election district and in single-mandate election districts must have different colors.

A voter approaches a member of the election commission and receives a yellow ballot paper, which is designed for the majoritarian system of voting when choosing a particular candidate. Then the voter goes up to a special voting table, where he or she fills in the ballot and puts it into the ballot box. After that, the voter has to get another, white, ballot paper, which is designed for voting for a political party in the nationwide election district. The voter writes the name of the party or the name of the candidate from the party's open list and then puts the ballot into the appropriate box.

Japanese citizens, who are unable to vote on the election day for a good reason, have the right to vote in advance. To do this, they need to contact the municipal election commission. Voters who are unable to come to the polling station due to health problems may vote by mail.

A limited number of voters have the right to observe the vote-counting process in order to ensure fair elections.

In the nationwide election district, the seats are distributed between the winning parties according to a special formula.

The candidate who receives the largest number of valid votes in a single-mandate election district is declared elected. If several candidates have an equal number of votes, the winner is determined by drawing lots.

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