- Title: JAPAN: Country heads to polls, conservative LDP seen returning to power
- Date: 16th December 2012
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (DECEMBER 16, 2012) (REUTERS) MAN WALKING INTO POLLING STATION, PAST ELECTION POSTER BOARD SIGN OUTSIDE POLLING STATION WITH JAPANESE CHARACTERS READING "ELECTION" DOORS OPENING AT POLLING STATION MAN CASTING BALLOTS IN POLLING STATION CLOSE-UP OF BALLOT PAPER BEING POSTED INTO BALLOT BOX (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 40-YEAR-OLD COMPANY EXECUTIVE VOTING FOR MAIN OPPOSITION LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (LDP), SHUNICHI ASANAGI, SAYING: "Basically over the last three years the ruling Democratic Party has tried to do all sorts of things, but every policy they've tried has backfired." PEOPLE STANDING, MARKING BALLOT SHEETS WOMAN CASTING VOTE INTO BALLOT BOX (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 58-YEAR-OLD COMPANY EMPLOYEE VOTING FOR MAIN OPPOSITION LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (LDP), MAKOTO MIZUNO, SAYING: "Whether it's relations with South Korea, problems with North Korea or trouble with China -- on every front the Democratic Party's diplomacy has gone terribly." MAN RECEIVING BALLOT PAPERS AT POLLING STATION VARIOUS OF EMPLOYEES SORTING PAPERS AT POLLING STATION MAN WALKING TO VOTING BOOTH TO MARK BALLOT PAPERS MAN MARKING PAPERS MAN CASTING VOTE PERSON PUTTING BALLOT PAPER INTO BALLOT BOX PERSON WALKING OUT OF POLLING STATION
- Embargoed: 31st December 2012 12:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA9WJY0GJUHHR5IDNM4EJHRX0AS
- Story Text: Japanese voters headed to the polling stations on Sunday (December 16) in the election for parliament's lower house.
Polls opened at 0700 local time (2200 GMT on December 15) and voting continues nationwide until 2000 local time (1100 GMT on December 16).
The election is expected to end the three-year tenure of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), with the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) tipped to regain power.
Media surveys suggest the LDP will win a big majority in parliament's powerful 480-seat lower house, although many people were still undecided in surveys just days before the vote.
Two voters casting their ballots in Tokyo on Sunday, both for the LDP, said they had been disappointed by the performance of the ruling party.
"Basically over the last three years the ruling Democratic Party has tried to do all sorts of things, but every policy they've tried has backfired," said 40-year-old Shunichi Asanagi.
"Whether it's relations with South Korea, problems with North Korea or trouble with China -- on every front the Democratic Party's diplomacy has gone terribly," echoed 58-year-old Makoto Mizuno.
The DPJ swept to power in 2009 to end more than 50 years of almost non-stop rule by the LDP.
But their support has slumped over what voters see as broken promises, a confused response to last year's tsunami and nuclear crisis, and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's embrace of unpopular causes such as a tax hike and the restarting of nuclear reactors.
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