Japan election: what you need to know

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Japanese voters went to the polls for a parliamentary election that may give the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) a surge of support after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a dominant politician and power broker.

* Polls close and media exit polls are expected at 8 p.m. (1100 GMT)

* Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, who sought to lift the economy out of chronic deflation with his bold “Abenomics” policies, beef up the military and counter China’s growing clout, died after being gunned down during a campaign speech two days before the election.

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* The upper house election result will have implications for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s grip on the LDP and his ability to tackle main policy issues from inflation to nuclear power and defense.

* The rising cost of living is turning into a thorny election issue as opposition parties peg blame for rising prices rises on Kishida’s policies.

* Farmer Kiyoharu Hirao has started to add more rice to the mix he gives his cattle to stretch his money further as a plunging yen drives up the cost of imported corn for animal feed. That makes him, along with other farmers facing similar hardship, angry at the LDP that once held an almost unshakable grip on rural Japan.

* Japan’s push to restart nuclear reactors, shut down after the Fukushima disaster a decade ago, could get a tailwind as the governing coalition looks set for gains in the election.

* Key facts about the upper house election and important numbers to watch.

* Key facts about main political parties. (Compiled by Robert Birsel and William Mallard)

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