Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) surged back to power in an election yesterday just three years after a devastating defeat, giving former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe a chance to push his hawkish security agenda and radical economic recipe.
The LDP win will usher in a government committed to a tough stance in a territorial row with China, a pro-nuclear energy policy despite last year’s Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster and a potentially risky prescription for hyper-easy monetary policy to beat deflation and tame a strong yen.
Exit polls showed the LDP winning nearly 300 seats in parliament’s powerful 480-member lower house, while its ally, the small New Komeito Party, looked set to win about 30 seats.
That would give the two parties the two-thirds majority needed to overrule parliament’s upper house, where they lack a majority and which can block bills, which would help to break a policy deadlock that has plagued the world’s third-biggest economy since 2007.
“What’s first and foremost is to achieve an economic recovery and pull Japan out of deflation,” Abe, expected to be confirmed on Dec. 26 as the next prime minister, said on live television.
Analysts said that while markets had already pushed the yen lower and share prices higher in anticipation of the LDP’s decisive victory, stocks could rise further and the yen weaken if the “super majority” was confirmed.
Top LDP and New Komeito executives confirmed that they would form a coalition.
“The basis of course is a coalition between the LDP and the New Komeito, but if there’s room to cooperate with Japan Restoration Party, we need to do so,” LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba said, referring to a new right-leaning party that was set to pick up about 46 seats.
Exit polls showed Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) winning only 65 seats, slightly more than one-fifth of its tally in 2009.
The DPJ, which swept to power in 2009 promising to pay more heed to consumers than companies and reduce bureaucrats’ control over policymaking, was hit by defections just before the vote.
Party executive Kohei Otsuka told NHK that Noda would likely have to quit the party leadership over the defeat, in which several party heavyweights lost their seats.
Many voters had said the DPJ failed to meet its election pledges as it struggled to govern and cope with last year’s huge earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, and then pushed through an unpopular sales tax increase with the LDP’s help.
Voter distaste for both major parties has spawned a clutch of new parties, including the Japan Restoration Party founded by popular Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto. A dozen parties fielded candidates, confusing many voters.
LDP leader Abe, 58, has been talking tough in a row with China over uninhabited isles in the East China Sea, although some experts say he may temper his hardline stance with pragmatism once in office.
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a