Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other executives of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party place symbolic flowers next to the names of candidates who were victorious in the July 21 Upper House election. (Pool)

The low turnout for the July 21 Upper House election helped the ruling Liberal Democratic Party overcome a dwindling vote total and shrinking support in the proportional representation constituency.

The LDP won 19 of the 50 seats contested in that constituency, matching its figure for the 2016 Upper House election.

In the past two Upper House elections, the LDP ran fewer than 30 candidates in the proportional representation constituency.

But this time, the party fielded 33 candidates, figuring that more names would lead to more votes for the LDP, a party source said.

That strategy appears to have failed.

The LDP gained fewer than 18 million votes in the constituency, down sharply from 20.11 million votes three years ago.

The ratio of votes for the LDP in the proportional representation constituency was 18.9 percent in the 2016 Upper House election, but dropped to 17.5 percent in the 2017 Lower House election.

The ratio of LDP votes in the latest election is expected to fall under 17 percent, the lowest rate for the party during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s second stint at the helm of government.

But still, the LDP won 38 percent of the seats in the constituency.

The problem for the LDP’s opponents was that there were not enough votes to go around to make a difference.

Voter turnout was only 48.8 percent, the second lowest for an Upper House election.

Other parties also saw decreases in the number of votes won although there was no similar reduction in the number of seats won in the constituency.

For example, junior coalition partner Komeito won seven seats, as it did three years ago, but its vote total in the constituency fell from about 7.57 million to about 6.5 million.

Likewise, the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan won eight seats in the constituency despite gaining only about 8 million votes. In the 2017 Lower House election held shortly after the CDP was formed, it collected 11.08 million votes in the proportional representation constituency.