Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks set to retain power with a “super majority” of seats after Sunday’s national election.
Abe was elected in 2012 and was predicted to win in a landslide after calling a snap election last month.
The election period was originally tumultuous with experts predicting Abe could lose to his previous defense minister, and Tokyo Governor, Yuriko Koike. In September Koike created a new party, Party of Hope, fielding hundreds of candidates while the existing opposition party effectively disbanded.
But when Koike announced she would not be seeking a seat herself, Party of Hope had no clear candidate for Prime Minister which largely ended their chances of winning.
Abe is set to continue his economic policies, coined “Abenomics”, and increase sales tax to pay off public debt and fund new social services, including childcare support. And, if final results do give Abe’s coalition two-thirds of the 465 seats available, it’s widely expected he will revise the country’s pacifist constitution.
After World War II the US limited Japan’s ability to have their own armed forces. With North Korea increasingly becoming more hostile towards Japan, Abe is likely to seek a more robust military.
As results came in, Abe said he would use “strong diplomacy” to “firmly deal with North Korea”.
While final results are not expected until late Monday, Australia’s Prime Minister tweeted his congratulations.
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) October 22, 2017
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