At stake in this election:
- 480 seats in the House of Representatives (Shugiin)
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: Emperor AKIHITO
- Head of Government: Prime Minister Taro ASO
- Assembly: Japan has a bicameral Diet (Kokkai) consisting of the House of Councillors (Sangiin) with 242 seats and the House of Representatives (Shugiin) with 480 seats.
Description of electoral system:
- The Emperor is hereditary N/A.
- Prime Minister is appointed by parliament.
- In the House of Councillors (Sangiin), 96 members are elected by proportional representation to serve 6-year terms and 146 members are elected by single non-transferable vote to serve 6-year terms*. In the House of Representatives (Shugiin), 300 members are elected by plurality vote in single-member constituencies to serve 4-year terms and 180 members are elected by proportional representation to serve 4-year terms.**
* Terms are staggered with one half of each tier elected at each election. In the ordinal tier, there is one nationwide district, and party lists are open. In the nominal tier, constituencies correspond to prefectural or metropolitan boundaries, and magnitudes range from 1 to 5.
** Candidacy in both tiers is permitted. In the ordinal tier, party lists are closed.
Population and number of registered voters:
- Population: 127,078,679 (July 2009 est.)
- Registered Voters: 103,356,879 (September 2005 )