Over 75 percent of Japanese plan to vote in Sept. 11 parliamentary elections, poll finds

Over 75 percent of eligible Japanese voters plan to vote in hotly contested parliamentary elections on Sept. 11, far more than in other recent elections, according to a newspaper poll released Monday.

Over 75 percent of respondents in a Mainichi newspaper poll said they would "definitely vote" in elections for Japan's powerful lower house. Another 19 percent said they would "probably vote."

Public interest has been high since Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi dissolved the lower house last month and called snap elections, especially after he enlisted popular figures from business and academia to bolster his ruling Liberal Democratic Party's election lineup, reports the AP.

According to Bloomberg, “There is a growing possibility of a victory for the LDP and Koizumi by a big margin, which is positive for the yen,” said Minoru Shioiri, a Treasuries and foreign-exchange trader in Tokyo at Mitsubishi Securities Co., a unit of Japan's second-biggest lender.

“There is speculation that Koizumi's grip on power will strengthen, making it easier for him to promote reforms.'”

The yen rose to 109.14 against the dollar as of 1:40 p.m. in Tokyo, from 109.81 in New York on Sept. 2, according to electronic currency dealing system EBS. Japan's currency traded at 137.23 per euro from 137.47.

The yen may rally to 108.50 against the dollar this week, Shioiri said. Trading may be less than usual today because of a public holiday in the U.S.

The LDP may win 250 seats out of a total 480 in the lower house of parliament and could secure as many as 280, the Nikkei said yesterday, citing the latest poll carried out by its research unit. Koizumi's party now holds 249 seats.

The party has the support of 38.8 percent of voters, the Yomiuri newspaper reported, citing a separate survey, informs Bloomberg.

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