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 39.

    Voters turnout is extremly low. Independents enjoyed warm winter sunday forgetting the vote. That is why LDP, which has the stronghold in rural area, win the election.
    Independents supported Mr. Koizumi(an advocate for reform in LDP) in 2005. They also supported DPJ in 2009. However, they are sleeping today. "Third pole" could not attract them.
    Voters understand that no parties can change Japan.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    "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 should have installed Westinghouse's 3+ generation passively cooled reactors.

    Then nothing would have happened despite catastrophic 9.0 earthquake. And subsequent tsunami.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    @sc lai
    This is a discussion about the general election.. not a platform for Japan bashing. The only Asian country that is building a modern military power is China...

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Japan right wing has managed to gain ground slowly but surely,so far they managed to push d Gov to "purchase" d "Senkaku from d private owner",next they will change d art.9 of d pacifist constitution so that they can transform d Self Defense Force into regular military force.If that happens,China n 2 Koreas should press US so they can join d occupying force n should call it a Peace Ensuring Force.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    If North Korean Stalinist loonies attempt to launch more missiles over Okinawa ther'll have another one coming.

    Japan (just as Australia and New Zealand) becoming more&more a major part of American anti-ballistic global defense.

    Dare us!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Would have been a beautiful marriage if Mittens had managed to slide into the White House

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Exactly, you are right. Japanese dont know anything cos they havent thought anything so far after WW2.

    Japanese young guys kick Old people out from Politics but never hope so far there

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Let Japan admin Chinese Diaoyu islets n hence planted a time bomb between d 2 former enemies.3)Under d nose of American occupying force,Japan rearm itself to be d strongest n most modern militarily among d Asian nations,she even instigates n supply arms to nations like P'pines n Vietnam to fight China.

    Art.9 of d constitution so that she can discard d pacifist laws.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    I must say even BBC should be aware of being steered to have left shifted vision of the major Japanese media from which it gets fed of news topics. I can tell it from the tone above. Anybody who has a substantial understanding of the political landscape of Japan knows this is the victory of the Japanese people over the brain washing of lefty major media to finally become centered. Cheers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    The Japanese are pacifists. The US control Japan's defence which opens the country to manipulation especially with inept politicians. They have only proposed to be able to defend themselves. Senkaku Islands? There are historical documents in which China acknowledged Japan's sovereignty - but now China refuses to go on int'l courts because they know they have to relinquish pressure.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Obama Admin has encouraged militarist tendencies in Japan as part of aggressive US drive to undermine China’s influence in Asia Pacific. Washington was instrumental in forcing the mid-2010 resignation of DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama, who advocated a foreign policy more INDEPENDENT of US and CLOSER TIES WITH CHINA. For Japan, this is desperate attempt become dominant imperialist power in Asia.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    U.S,d major victor of the WWII,acted as a police man by deploying their occupying forces in post war Japan,to ensure the war criminals were punished and that Japan would not invade its neighbors again.But so far U.S had done a bad job in that1)some convicted war criminals who only committed crimes on Chinese but not on Americans were released,1 of them even became d PM.2)let Japan admin Diaoyu isl

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    No mention of only 41% of the population turning out to vote. As a resident here for the past 8 years with 2 japanese children it is alarming that the the people in power and those who put them there are all so short sighted in their views to solving japans problems. But then most of these people won't be around much longer anyway. Politics is for the dinosaurs desperate for the bubble to return.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    December 16 election has marked turn to nationalism/militarism, especially against China. 2 signs:
    1. dispute with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, &
    2. calls for constitutional change to remove or modify Japan’s so-called pacifist clause.
    Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) & right-wing Japan Restoration Party (JRP) propose to exacerbate by building permanent structures on the islands.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    The control freaks like nuclear. If they use their control of the press the unthinking majority will accept it. Almost as bad as USA-UK.
    An economic system that serves people without rigid ideology-'right' or 'left' would be better. At this point it's the 'right' taking over.
    Northern Europe seems the only place not 100% run by big money these days. (only 90%!)
    Sad for Japan.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    The only way Japan could get less corruption at the moment would be to elect the Yakuza into power. Come to think of it they did more in the wake of the tsunami than the gov did.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    An aggressive foreign policy against a country that they previously treated appallingly, and with insufficient work to change themselves or offer reconciliation with afterwards: yes, the classic approach by third-rate country's who divert citizens' eyes outwards rather than dwell on their own incompetencies at home. All the rhetoric will be about moving forwards though they will remain stationery.


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