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Voting Begins in Election Expected To Reshape Japan

Millions of Japanese have begun casting ballots in a vote expected to end more than 50 years of dominance by the country's ruling conservative party.

Japanese polls opened at 7 A.M. local time Sunday, in an election expected to attract an unprecedented portion of eligible voters.

More than 1,300 candidates are vying for 480 seats in the Japanese parliament's lower house, which selects the Prime Minister.

Expectations have been building for months of a resounding rejection of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, or LDP, of current Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso. Many Japanese blame the LDP for the country's worst economic recession since the Second World War.

The opposition Democratic Party of Japan, or DPJ, is predicted to capture a majority of seats and appoint Yukio Hatoyama the country's new leader.

In a sentiment shared by many going to the polls, one Japanese voter says, "I am not a big fan of the DPJ, but this time, why not?"

Hatoyama and the DPJ have promised to overhaul politics in Japan, focusing resources away from corporations and toward families in the form of child care support and free education.

He has indicated Japan's foreign policy will seek more autonomy from the United States and closer economic cooperation with neighboring China.