Japan election campaign kicks off, voting age lowered to 18

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s parliamentary election campaign is kicking off in the first nationwide balloting after the voting age was lowered to 18 from 20.

Up for grabs in the July 10 vote are 121 seats, or half of the seats in Parliament’s less powerful upper house.

The pro-business ruling party is hoping for a show of support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” program to revive the economy, while the opposition is criticizing his efforts to have Japan play a bigger global security role.

Old-style loyalties have generally been critical in Japanese elections, so the addition of 2 million younger voters will be closely watched to see if there is any change to that.

Abe’s ruling coalition holds a two-thirds majority in the more powerful lower house.

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