Japan opposition in strong lead: poll

Japan’s main opposition has maintained its strong lead over Prime Minister Taro Aso’s party ahead of parliamentary elections on August 30, according to a poll published Monday.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they intended to vote for the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) against 22 percent for the ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Asashi Shimbun daily said.

In the election, 180 seats in the 480-member lower house are selected by proportional representation, while 300 legislators are directly elected.

The Asahi polled 1,037 eligible voters at the weekend.

Aso on Friday pledged to fix the recession-hit economy and create millions of jobs as he unveiled the policy pledges of his party, which has ruled Japan almost without a break for more than half a century.

To win over undecided voters, who make up a third of the electorate according to polls, Aso promised measures including free pre-school education and steps to boost the economy, which is stuck in its worst post-war slump.

The centre-left DPJ, which has never governed Japan, has pledged higher social welfare spending, a foreign policy more independent of the United States, and steeper greenhouse gas cuts.



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