Tokyo: Candidates across Japan made their final pitch on Saturday on the eve of an election the opposition looks set to win, giving the untested Democrats the job of tackling record unemployment and a fast-aging society.
Media surveys have shown the Democratic Party of Japan is on track for a huge win over Prime Minister Taro Aso`s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has ruled the country for all but 10 months since its founding in 1955.
A clear Democratic Party win in the lower house election would break a deadlock in Parliament, where the party and its allies have controlled the less powerful upper chamber since 2007, allowing them to delay legislation.
"Whoever wins the election on Sunday, we want to ask the next administration to swiftly deal with concerns about unemployment uncertainty and deflation, which are deepening simultaneously," the Nikkei business daily said in an editorial on Saturday.
Figures released on Friday showed the jobless rate in the world`s second-largest economy hit a record high of 5.7 percent in July. The statistics also showed deflation was taking root for the second time in less than five years.
Candidates for the main parties were out in force in Tokyo, pressing their message to voters at railway stations. Democratic Party leader Yukio Hatoyama and the LDP`s Aso are expected to make final speeches later on Saturday.
A survey in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper said voter turnout could reach 70 percent, the highest in two decades, underscoring concern among Japanese about their country`s future. Turnout was 67.5 percent in the last lower house poll in 2005.