July 10 becomes likely upper house election date

The government and the ruling parties have started making arrangements to hold the House of Councillors election on July 10, according to several senior officials of the government and the ruling parties.

They are also considering convening an ordinary Diet session on Jan. 17.

The term of office for upper house members who will be up for election next year is set to expire on July 25. Candidate dates for the election are one of the five Sundays from June 26 to July 24. The government and the ruling parties are believed to have decided that July 10 is the most appropriate date based on past cases.

For the vote to be held on July 10, the ordinary Diet session is expected to convene in mid-January due to provisions of the Public Offices Election Law and others, with Jan. 17 being the most likely date.

The Diet Law requires that an ordinary Diet session last 150 days. If the Diet convenes on Jan. 17, the session will end on June 15.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed his intention to visit the United States before the end of the year or at an early date and meet with U.S. President Joe Biden. Since the prime minister’s trip will affect the Diet’s schedule, the government and the ruling parties are set to make an official decision on the election date after careful consideration.

Since upper house election campaigns conventionally run for 17 days, June 23 would be the day when official campaigning for a July 10 poll could kick off. However, since June 23 falls on Okinawa Memorial Day, when victims of the Battle of Okinawa during World War II are mourned, the government and the ruling parties also are considering kicking off campaigning on June 22.