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Nearly 14 mln cast ballots in early voting for Japan's general election

THE ministry of internal affairs and communications today said by yesterday a record 13,984,866 voters cast their ballots in early voting for the ongoing House of Representatives election.

The figure represents 13.40 percent of all eligible voters in Japan, or about 1.56 times higher than in the 2005 lower house election when 8,962,847 cast early votes, said the ministry.

Due to the voters' enormous enthusiasm, turnout could also be higher than the previous general election, in which it reached 67.51 percent, local media reported.

On Wednesday the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Yukio Hatoyama cast his absentee ballots for the Hokkaido Constituency No. 9 as well as for the proportional representation segment of the election at a special branch office of Tokyo's Ota Ward.

A day earlier Prime Minister Taro Aso, who doubles as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), also cast his early ballots for Fukuoka Constituency No. 8 and the Kyushu proportional representation bloc as well as for the national review of Supreme Court justices to he held today.

The current early voting system began in 2004. In 2007, some 10.8 million voters cast early votes in the upper house election.


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