News / Asia

    Ruling Coalition Wins Control of Japan's Legislature

    Japan's Prime Minister and the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Shinzo Abe (C) makes an appearance before the media at a news conference following a victory in the upper house elections by his ruling coalition, at the LDP headquarters
    Japan's Prime Minister and the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Shinzo Abe (C) makes an appearance before the media at a news conference following a victory in the upper house elections by his ruling coalition, at the LDP headquarters
    Daniel Schearf
    The ruling coalition of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has won control of both houses of parliament, ending years of political deadlock.

    Japan's Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, the New Komeito party, won 76 of the 121 contested seats in the upper house.  That gives Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition 135 of the 242 seats in the upper chamber.

    It is the first time in six years the LDP has a comfortable majority over both houses, raising hopes Abe has the political backing to reform the ailing economy.

    Speaking at his party headquarters, Prime Minister Abe warned they would face a backlash if party politicians retreated from reform.  

    He says they must further speed up the pace of their policies.  If they return to the old LDP, that would ignore public opinion or would look to run away from reforms, he says, then they will lose the public's support.

    The LDP lost control of Japan's parliament in a 2007 election defeat when Abe was last prime minister.  He returned as leader last December after an election victory in the lower house.  

    Since then, he won praise for the fiscal stimulus policy known as “Abenomics" that lowers interest rates, and increases money supply and government spending.  The policy also includes structural reforms, such as deregulation of markets and breaking up monopolies.  

    But Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University in Japan, says taking on some big businesses who back the LDP will be more difficult to implement.

    “The problem is that those vested interests are very well represented in Mr. Abe's own LDP party," he said. "And, now that the pressure is off, they won big, the chances are they are going to become a bit more complacent about reform.  And, they are more likely to defend the vested interests that put them into office.  And so, I think one of the big challenges Abe faces is maintaining discipline within the ranks of his own party.”

    Many in Japan are also concerned that Abe will push a nationalist agenda, perhaps at the expense of focusing on the economy.

    The prime minister is emphasizing the need to protect island territory Japan disputes with China and South Korea.  The calls for protecting territorial claims have raised tensions between Japan and its neighbors and worries it could lead to conflict.

    Kingston says one reason Abe lost public support from 2006 was his emphasis on nationalist ideology.  Unfortunately, he says, although Abe now has the political freedom to try to tone down regional tensions, the Japanese leader appears to be holding firm.

    “In fact, after his election victory he is saying, you know, that Japan needs to be a country that protects its territory.  So, [it]does not sound like he is offering the 'olive branch' there.  And, I think that this is worrying, not only to people in the region, I also think Washington is very concerned that Abe may be a tad too nationalistic and a little bit too provocative,” he said.

    More controversially, Abe has made numerous comments playing-down Japan's World War II aggression and atrocities.

    His government is also considering the idea of re-writing Japan's pacifist constitution, raising further hackles from neighbors who suffered during the war.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Pie from: Japan
    July 23, 2013 8:32 AM
    What a shameless opinion this is! Japan could successfully recover from the destruction after WWII and became a member of developed countries again quickly. Compared to Japan's revitalization, S. Korea and China were still poor because of their political failures at that time, so Japan kindly aided a lot of money for their people without any returns. After their recovery, however, they only learned how to accuse Japan and how to squeeze money from Japan. So, S. Korea and China just provoke and say "Give more money!" Japan is neither a cash-dispenser nor a welfare for them, any more.

    by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
    July 23, 2013 4:04 AM
    As a US' security gard in Asia,Japan has to represent the sake of his boss.Now,America is returning to Asia-Parcific.Becauce of the spending-cut, American money is so limited that Japan was asked to pay the bill of the conspiracy.As it stands,Japan has raised their military spending since this year, No doubt,Japan will pay more In the following couple years.It's easy way for Abe to make money that Obama's government and Abe's government work together to spur Japanese nationalism. Abe has won control of both houses of parliament,it is in sign of that USA has given de facto recognition to Abe. I don’t think Washington concerned that Abe may be too nationalistic and a little bit too provocative.but it is not fair trade for Japan,as a watch dog,not only work for his boss,but also pay the bill for his boss.

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    July 22, 2013 5:46 PM
    US should be glad Abe won decisive votes. Abe's conservative position at the territorial disputes is nothing but the same as what China and Korea have. It is important to express clearly what shoul be expressed especially in deplomatic stages. Ambiguity helps no one understand opposition's standpoints. This ambiguity of Japanese politicians has been condemned especialyy by US. At his point, Abe's claims are clear to everybody.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora