Japan election: Shinzo Abe and LDP in sweeping win - exit poll

Shinzo Abe on the campaign trail last week Shinzo Abe looks set to be reappointed as prime minister five years after he resigned

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The conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Shinzo Abe has won the Japanese election, exit polls predict.

The LDP, which enjoyed almost 50 years of unbroken rule until 2009, is projected to have an overall majority in the new parliament.

Mr Abe has already served a Japan's Prime Minister between 2006 and 2007.

He campaigned on a pledge to end 20 years of economic stagnation and to direct a more assertive foreign policy at a time of tensions with China.

He is seen as a hawkish, right-of-centre leader whose previous term in office ended ignominiously amid falling popularity and a resignation on grounds of ill health.

But Japanese media project big gains for his LDP who they say are on course to win between 275 to 310 seats in the 480-member house.

Its ally, the small New Komeito party, looks set to win about 30 seats to possibly give the alliance a two-thirds majority in the lower house.

That would give Mr Abe the power to over-rule parliament's upper house and help to break a deadlock that some say has plagued the world's third biggest economy since 2007.

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield Hayes says as many predicted, Japan has taken a sharp turn to the right.

The LDP Secretary-General, Shigeru Ishiba, puts the party's first rosette by a success candidate's name at party headquarters in Tokyo The LDP celebrate their first win on election night

The big losers from the election were the outgoing prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Democratic Party (DPJ) which is forecast to win between 55 and 77 seats.

A party spokesman told Japan's NHK television Mr Noda would have to resign over the defeat, in which some of the party's leading figures are projected to have lost their seats.

The DPJ has struggled since coming to power in 2009. Two prime ministers came and went before Mr Noda as the party struggled to deliver amid the economic downturn and 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Mr Noda lost over his move to double sales tax, something he said was necessary to tackle Japan's massive debt.


By contrast, Mr Abe has promised more public spending, looser monetary policy, and to allow nuclear energy a role to play in resource-poor Japan's future despite last year's nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

Japan-China disputed islands

  • The archipelago consists of five islands and three reefs
  • Japan, China and Taiwan claim them; they are controlled by Japan and form part of Okinawa prefecture
  • Japanese businessman Kunioki Kurihara owned three of the islands but sold them to the Japanese state in September
  • The islands were also the focus of a major diplomatic row between Japan and China in 2010

But economists say there is little new in Mr Abe's policies, or 'Abenomics' as they have been called. They have been adopted by previous LDP governments without successfully renewing the Japanese economy.

Mr Abe has also called for a tough stance on a territorial row with China over islands in the East China Sea that both countries claim.

But neither of the main parties fully convinced voters. Several new parties contested the poll and the right-leaning Japan Restoration Party founded by the mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto. could win as many as 50 seats.

And the nationalist former governor of Tokyo governor, Shintaro Ishihara, whose bid to buy disputed islands provoked a fierce diplomatic showdown with China, may also have won a seat in parliament according to Japanese media.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    4. muadib2
    "Good to see mindless nationalism and paranoia alive and well here."

    There is Always room for mindless nationalism and paranoia at the BBC !

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Another odd choice of HYS topic guys! With the world's medical scientists scrambling to see if Saudi SARS is going to emerge as the viral Pandemic and undermine the hegemony of the West you choose this...
    However perhaps Japan may manage to isolate itself and emerge as a new superpower - but not having any fossil fuel it will need nuclear if it is to stand up to the Arab powers with their oil.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Abe and LDP in sweeping win

    Didn't know Homer's dad was running.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Conservative Liberal Democratic Party ?

    Meaning ?

    Oh... hang on.. "we" have one of those.... it means corruption.

    Why have topics here that cannot be commented on ? Is this "have your say sometimes"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Japan will be back as ex-Japanese style again but it has not been deserved to decide good or bad so far. It is clear that Japan will be more conservative and conflicts appear soon between Korea and China.
    UK has strict party system but Japan has nothing about it and it causes the confusion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Agree with Ben, a big dissappointment here in Japan. I have lived in Japan for 12 years. I have come to realize Japanese people always expect perfect results from their prime ministers.One would need to be a "saint" to survive in that post. It is a very hot seat for any prime minister. A mere change of parties is not the solution to the challenges Japan faces. Leaders need time to grow on the job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    LDP used tsunami memories to justify pork-barrel spending. LDP's old ally, the bureaucracy, had already spent the reconstruction budget in non tsunami affected areas.
    In spite of this policy, Japan choosed LDP. After all, many people (especially the elderly) love the pork-barrel politics. The young is giving up hope. Japan is too aged now. Japan will never change and never try to do so again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Japanese voters seem to have the same issue as we do, in that the established parties are unconvincing.

    Maybe not surprising that they've elected a govt with a more aggressive foreign policy stance given the dispute with China and the ongoing N. Korea issue.

    Just made me splutter my coffee when I saw the Lib Dems had won something!

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Japan need to built strong military,warship,to protect there island.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    I've been following the world news a lot cuz it gives me an idea about where Japan should head to in a big scale; therefore it doesn't lead me to choose candidates and parties simply for the sake of current hot issues, such as nuclear energy. & I must say that world media report that Japan is heading to the right; but since Japan's been too left-sided, it's finally come to the centre in my opinion

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    As a Japanese citizen, this election is a shamble. 12 parties, all drifting to the right to increase enmity with our neighbors rather than looking for solutions.

    It's the same old politics that led my country to ruin. a

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    I think China has good reasons to be against Japan after they rewrite history books and honour the people who were directly responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of Chinese civilians. If Japan really wants to go up against China then I'm not sure the rest of the world will be on Japan's side.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    4. muadib2
    "Good to see mindless nationalism and paranoia alive and well here."

    Good to see substance-free intellectually lazy generalisations alive and well here. Wait, no it isn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Good luck to the Japanese people, I hope it works out for them. One thing is sure, this will never happen here as our Lib Dem party has shown its true colours and they will be cast in to the electoral wilderness for a generation come our next general election

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    "'Abenomics' in which Mr Abe has promised more public spending, looser monetary policy."
    Oh dear, more spending & looser monetary policy, just as the USA, EU & UK have been trying. It's not working for them... why will it work for Japan?

    I hope he can at least navigate the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute & avoid a war between the 2nd & 3rd largest world economies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Good to see mindless nationalism and paranoia alive and well here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    it's a big disappointment here in japan. the problem with so many voters here is that they don't think of the whole - they each have one particular point that settles it for them one way or the other and nothing else gets considered. in this case it's that the DPJ hasn't 'fixed' the country, and the fact that the LDP has no idea how to do so and wasn't able to in the past isn't even on the radar.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    At least they haven't succumbed to the evil of multiculturalism yet. Japan for the Japanese. The way it should be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Japan is America's lackey so whatever "tough stance" they have against China depends on permission from their lord and master the USA backed up with military support. Last time Shinzo Abe was PM I don't recall any "tough stance" from his regime. He will most likely resign within 12 months as Japan's economy falters further.


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