Japan's Upper House election campaigning starts Wednesday

Hundreds of candidates in Japan's Upper House election are officially kicking off their campaigns Wednesday.

Election day is two and a half weeks away. It comes as the country deals with surging prices in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

There is also ongoing debate on national security policy.
Those are some of the major topics expected to come up during the campaign.

Members of the Upper House are elected for 6-year terms. Elections are held every three years, with half of the seats up for grabs.

This time there are 124 seats plus one extra to fill a vacancy from the other half.

Seventy-five will be decided based on electoral districts from across Japan.

The remaining 50 seats will be filled by people elected through proportional representation.

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio says his ruling coalition aims to maintain its majority in the Upper House. That would require winning at least 56 of the open seats.

People will also be watching to see if members of the ruling coalition and other parties in favor of amending the Constitution will secure two-thirds of the house. They would need that level of support to put any proposal to a national referendum.

The official campaign continues through July 9. Election day is July 10.