Japan’s leader has scored a major victory in national elections that returned his ruling coalition to power in decisive fashion.
Japanese media said Monday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and a small coalition partner had together secured at least 312 seats in the 465-seat lower house of parliament, passing the 310-barrier for a two-thirds majority. Four seats remained undecided.
The victory boosts Abe’s chances of winning another three-year term next September as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. That could extend his premiership to 2021, giving him more time to try to win a reluctant public over to his longtime goal of revising Japan’s pacifist constitution.
Abe’s party and its nationalist supporters have advocated constitutional revisions for years. They view the 1947 constitution as the legacy of Japan’s defeat in World War II and an imposition of the victor’s world order and values.In the immediate term, the win likely means a continuation of the policies Abe has pursued since he took office in December 2012 - a hard line on North Korea, close ties with Washington, including defense, as well as a super-loose monetary policy and push for nuclear energy. Stocks rose in Tokyo on Monday morning.
Abe’s ruling coalition already has a two-thirds majority in the less powerful upper house.
With the win, Abe has bounced back from the summer, when his support ratings plunged to 30 percent.
Abe dissolved the lower house less than a month ago, forcing the snap election.
TOKYO (Daily Mail/AP) -