Voters uninterested, disappointed in politics amid low turnout

Some voters expressed indifference and disappointment with politics Sunday amid a low turnout for the House of Councillors election.

Voter turnout in the election was estimated at 52.60 percent, the lowest since the upper house election held in 1995, according to a Kyodo News tally.

People who refrained from casting their ballots said voting would not change anything, with a 76-year-old man in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, who lost his house in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, saying, "I see no hope in politics."

"Even if I vote for somebody, it won't change my current life," said the man, who is living in temporary housing with no prospect of leaving.

A 30-year-old woman in Yokohama near Tokyo said she had been planning to vote but decided to go on a date instead.

"I'm worried about the prospects for (changing) the Constitution, but after watching news programs reporting the Liberal Democratic Party is in the lead, I thought I can't do anything," she said.

In Okinawa, home to the bulk of U.S. forces in Japan, residents who want the U.S. Marines' Futenma Air Station in the crowded city of Ginowan to be moved outside of the island prefecture were despondent, as the ruling LDP has pledged to relocate the base to the less-populated Henoko coastal area of the prefecture.

"I want the base to be removed outside the prefecture, but it is impossible," a 69-year-old housewife in Okinawa said. "No matter what appeals we made, the government has dismissed them."

With the election victory of the LDP and its junior coalition partner, the New Komeito party, putting an end to the divided Diet -- in which opposition parties controlled the upper chamber -- voters in areas hit hard by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan expressed hope for prompt reconstruction support from the government.

A man in his 60s in Miyagi, who lost his wife and mother in the disaster, said, "With the twisted Diet being resolved, it will become easier to implement many policy measures."