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

Obama Pledges 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Burials

Country is improving at rapid response to remote, isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace Christmas precisely because of its non-religious glamor and commercial appeal More

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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid