Abe vows steady economic course after poll win

Japan's main opposition Democratic Party of Japan leader Banri Kaieda arrives for ballot counting as a TV shows Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speak in the upper house elections in Tokyo. File photo  

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday his government would pursue its aggressive economic policies following a decisive victory in upper house elections.

The economic policies “have most surely made achievements,” the premier told reporters, saying that people across the country would feel an improvement in the real economy.

His Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) regained control of the upper house in Sunday’s election.

Mr. Abe, who took office in December, promoted aggressive monetary easing to prop up the economy and appealed to voters ahead of the vote to support his economic policies.

Asked about Japan’s strained ties with China, the premier said his country “is always open for dialogue” with Beijing.

However, on Sunday, Mr. Abe declined to comment on whether he would visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, a war memorial dedicated to about 2.5 million war dead, including 14 convicted Class A war criminals from World War II.

On Monday, Natsuo Yamaguchi, the leader of the LDP’s coalition partner New Komeito, urged the premier not to visit the shrine.

“I believe the prime minister will give a sensible response,” Mr. Yamaguchi told reporters.

The conservative LDP won 65 seats and the New Komeito captured 11 seats in Sunday’s voting, giving the coalition a clear majority.

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) grabbed only 17 seats, its worst showing in an upper house election since its foundation in 1996, while the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) made significant leaps, winning 8 seats, the biggest number since 1998.

“It is a crucial step forward for us to take the offensive” against the LDP, JCP leader Kazuo Shii told a news conference.

“Citizens are concerned that the LDP will get out of control,” he said.

Your Party and the Japan Restoration Party, headed by former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara and Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, gained 8 seats each.

Social Democratic Party won only 1 seat and People’s Life First Party, led by former DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa, failed to capture any seats.

In the 2007 upper house elections the LDP, led by then-premier Mr. Abe, suffered a crushing defeat, losing a majority for the first time in its history.

The LDP alone now holds a total of 115 seats in the upper house, still fewer than the number required to control the 242-seat chamber outright.

The upper house has elections for half of its 242 seats every three years, and this year 433 candidates competed for the 121 seats.

Voter turnout in Sunday’s elections was estimated at 51.57 per cent, the lowest since the 1995 race, according to a tally by the Kyodo news agency.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 1:51:04 AM |

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