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Japan's Upper House of Parliament, holds elections every three years for, alternately, only half of the total 242 seats. The others remain uncontested until the next election.
The lower house could traditionally override most of the votes made by the Upper House, provided they get a two-thirds majority of the members present.
However, since the switch to proportional representation, the upper house has gained a lot more power to block legislation, with the government failing to gain the vital two-thirds mark. time and time again.
A total of 437 candidates are contesting the 121 seats in this year's upper house election. Of the 121 seats in contention, 73 are in prefectural constituency races and the remaining 48 are proportional representation contests.
The ruling parties together, have 66 uncontested seats in the upper house. To maintain a joint majority, the DPJ and the PNP need to win at least 57 seats in the election.
- Japan's DPJ garners 44 seats in upper house election 2010-07-12
- Japan begins upper house election 2010-07-11