News / Asia

Ex-PM Abe Elected as Head of Japan's Opposition LDP

Newly elected Japan's main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President Shinzo Abe at the party headquarters in Tokyo, September 26, 2012.
Newly elected Japan's main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President Shinzo Abe at the party headquarters in Tokyo, September 26, 2012.
VOA News
Japan's tough-talking former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who is calling for a stronger stance against China, has been elected as president of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party.

Abe, who defeated ex-defense chief Shigeru Ishiba in a run-off election Wednesday, could get another chance to lead Japan, if the LDP wins next election as polls suggest.

The conservative leader has taken a hawkish stance against China, as well as South Korea, which are both locked in territorial disputes with Tokyo.

The 58-year-old abruptly stepped down as prime minister in 2007 citing a stomach illness, in the wake of a significant election defeat.

Former foreign ministry spokesman Tomohiko Taniguchi says that Abe appears healthy and aims to accomplish many of his original goals, including revising the post-World War II pacifist constitution.

"The first term for Shinzo Abe has been and is going to be remembered as a 'halfway house,'  because he wanted to do a lot of things at once, and then failed to do them due to his illness," he said. "He has proven to some degree that he is in better shape than before, and the ultimate test will be whether he could bring Japan to the point that he wants it to reach, namely to revise the constitution."

Opinion polls suggest that Abe's LDP, which governed Japan for most of the post-World War Two era, would have the edge in a general election, but would also need a coalition partner.

A general election must be held within a year. But Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who last week won election as head of the DPJ, has so far only said that it will take place "in the near term."

The election of Abe would be likely to alarm Beijing, which is mired in a major diplomatic crisis with Tokyo about a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

LDP officials have called on Japan to build on the islands, which are also claimed by China. Tokyo purchased the islands from their private Japanese owner earlier this month, angering Beijing.

But Taniguchi says the election will probably not change the course of China-Japan relations, which he says seem to be "headed for more turbulence."

Whoever wins the elections will also face deep-rooted problems in Japan's stagnant economy, which has been riddled by a massive public debt, rapidly aging population and recovery from last year's massive earthquake and tsunami.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid