Japan conservatives win in polls



Agence France Presse

Published — Monday 17 December 2012

Last update 17 December 2012 2:41 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

TOKYO: Japan’s conservative opposition swept to victory in national polls yesterday, giving former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a second chance to promote his hawkish security agenda and reflate the economy.
Voters decisively abandoned Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda three years after his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) promised a change from more than half a century of almost unbroken rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Abe, who spent the campaign pledging to bolster Japan’s defenses and stand up to China over disputed islands, secured a handsome majority for the LDP in the election for the powerful lower house of parliament, exit polls showed.
Abe, whose brief stint as premier in 2006-7 ended ignominiously, has also vowed to rectify the listless economy after years of deflation, made worse by a soaring currency that has squeezed exporters.
He also offered to boost spending on infrastructure at a time when much of the tsunami-wrecked northeast remains a shell of its former self.
Abe’s calls were criticized by opponents as a return to the LDP’s “construction state” of the last century which left the countryside riddled with underused bridges and roads to nowhere.
NHK television, citing forecasts based on its own exit polls, said the LDP had won 275 to 310 seats in the 480-seat lower house, with the DPJ reduced to a rump of between 55 and 77 seats. It won more than 300 seats in the 2009 poll.
New Komeito, LDP’s junior coalition partner, had 27 to 35 seats, NHK said.
That could give the pair a more than two-thirds majority in the powerful lower house, enough to override the upper chamber in which no party has overall control.
“The LDP sweeps to victory; Abe administration to start,” the online edition of the Nikkei newspaper said in a banner headline.
Analysts say the LDP’s victory has come by default, with voters disenchanted by the DPJ after three years of flip-flops, policy missteps and diplomatic drift, but having little faith in any of the alternatives.
Voter turnout, measured half an hour before the polls closed, was 45.42 percent, down more than seven points on the last election.
In the first national ballot since the tsunami-sparked meltdowns at Fukushima in March 2011, nuclear power had looked set to play a significant role. But an array of smaller parties promising an end to atomic generation made little impression on voters.
The LDP says it will review all nuclear reactors in three years to decide whether to restart them.
Nationalist former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, whose bid to buy the disputed islands provoked a fierce diplomatic showdown with China, secured a seat as leader of the third largest party.
His populist Japan Restoration Party won between 40 and 61 seats, NHK said, giving him weight enough to shout from the parliamentary sidelines.
Public unease about a worsening security environment — North Korea lobbed a rocket over Japan’s southern islands last week and China sent a plane into Japanese airspace — bolstered Ishihara and Abe.
The LDP has promised to revitalize a security alliance with the United States that is widely thought to have drifted under Noda’s party.
Hours before polls closed Chinese state media urged a post-election Japan to “devise its foreign policy with a long-term and pragmatic” view so Japan can “repair its strained ties with neighbors.”
Yasuko Kono, professor of politics at Hosei University in Tokyo, said the LDP had done better than anyone expected.
“The results are a harsh verdict by voters on the DPJ government. The big win is likely to guide the LDP coalition to a course to stability in power.”
Parliament will be called into session as early as December 26th to name Abe as the new prime minister, the Nikkei newspaper said.
In an evening of misery for Noda, TV Asahi reported at least two of his ministers would lose their seats.
Internal Affairs Minister Shinji Tarutoko and Education Minister Makiko Tanaka appeared to have lost their constituency seats. It is possible that they may win through on the proportional representation part of the ballot.
Noda’s own fate as leader of the much-diminished DPJ was also in doubt, despite his apparently having retained his seat.
Kohei Otsuka, a senior party official told NHK: “In general, (Noda) can’t help but take responsibility for (the defeat). But he will consider how to take responsibility.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

ALKHOBAR: A power failure at the King Fahd Causeway on Wednesday night resulted in a massive traffic congestion, even as officials failed to explain the cause of the snag, local media reported.A power outage for 74 minutes on the link between the Kin...
JEDDAH: A female Saudi lawyer was able to get a stay order on a ruling by the general court in Jeddah that awarded custody of a two-year-old girl to her father. She successfully argued to get the court order reversed that gave custody back to the mot...
JEDDAH: The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) said that combating harassment cases is part of its responsibility to promote Islamic values and morals in society.“Those harassing women will be brought to book,” s...
RIYADH: A thick layer of sand covered the city’s skyline on Saturday with a heavy blanket of dust caused by strong winds hampering visibility and creating traffic snarls on busy roads.The traffic department advised motorists to drive slowly and exerc...
JEDDAH: More than 26 million Umrah pilgrims and worshippers visited the Grand Mosque during the month of Ramadan and in the first few days after Eid Al-Fitr, thanks to a smooth transport arrangement under the guidance of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-...
AL-AHSA: An outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) has been discovered in cattle in Al-Ahsa which is an area with many cows. All necessary measures have been taken to protect the livestock, said Mahmoud Al-Shuaibi of the Agriculture Department in Al-Ah...
RIYADH: An architectural masterpiece — the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center (KAHC) — in Riyadh is a huge complex dedicated solely to collecting, preserving, promoting and showcasing the history and heritage of Saudi Arabia. The KAHC is a three milli...
RIYADH: The Saudi Blind Society (Kafif) has made all preparations for the three-day workshop for the blind to be held here next week and attended by delegates from various Asian countries.Mohammed bin Suleiman Al-Shuwaiman, Kafif director general, th...
JEDDAH: The number of Saudis who took early retirement schemes last year stood at 38,647, the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) has said. The Eastern Provinces got the lion's share of disbursements for retirees, amounting to SR3.8 bill...
JEDDAH: Meat and poultry topped the list of food items seized by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) at the border crossings for violating the health standards in the last two months.Approximately 267,137 kg of unfit meat and poultry were reject...
JEDDAH: Many sponsors and workers of small companies are struggling to get a comparatively cheaper health cover for renewal of iqama (residential permit) as the insurance companies have stopped issuing the same.The passport department has made it com...
RIYADH: Police have detained 11 Indonesian nationals, who arrived in the holy city of Makkah for Umrah a few days back.The Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry is working closely with the Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah to assist the group of citizen...
JEDDAH: The National Committee for Bakeries at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) said this Haj season would see no shortage in supplies of bakery items.The committee said there was need to increase operational labor by about 20 percent.It confirmed...
JEDDAH: Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al Hamzi, director general of prisons, has sacked Brig. Ahmad Al Shahrani, director of Jeddah prisons, after the case of a video clip about prisoners taking heroin went viral, according to local media.Quoting informed source...
JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal met with leaders of security forces in the region on Thursday to discuss future plans and mechanisms to limit infiltrators from entering the holy sites via land passageways during Haj.During the meeting, he...

Stay Connected

Facebook