Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe poised to win snap election

A resounding majority could pave the way for the Japanese leader to revise the country’s pacifist constitution.

Japan''s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, and Japan''s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso attend an election campaign rally in Tokyo
Abe remains on track to become Japan's longest-serving prime minister since World War II [Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters]

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are on course for victory in the country’s snap general election.

Exit polls on Sunday projected a victory for Abe’s ruling coalition in the lower house election, called a year ahead of schedule. 

Abe’s LDP and its coalition partner, Komeito, were set to win more than 300 seats of the 465 in the parliament, polls showed. 

A resounding majority could pave the way for the Japanese leader to revise the country’s pacifist constitution.

Abe dissolved the lower house of parliament and called for fresh polls last month to deal with what he called “national crises”, referring to an ageing population and nuclear tensions with North Korea.


Voting on Sunday was hampered across the country by heavy flooding from Super Typhoon Lan, with evacuations taking place in the southwest.

Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke, reporting from the Japanese capital, Tokyo said. “On some of the islands, communities have been unable to vote simply because the ferries could not deliver the ballot boxes to the polling booths.”

With a win and a third consecutive three-year term, Abe remains on track to become Japan’s longest-serving prime minister since the second world war. 

Abe’s hardline stance in dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat has led to a recent surge in his ratings.

“I support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy not to yield to North Korea,” Yoshihisa Iemori, a construction business owner, told Al Jazeera. “I want him to take the strong position and to cooperate with the United States and South Korea.”

Meanwhile, his economic policies under the brand of “Abenomics” – aimed at reviving a stagnant economy – have drawn criticism.

“The pension payment and salaries are not getting better, the sales tax has gone up to eight percent and the consumer price is higher now,” said Hideki Kawasaki, retiree and Tokyo voter. “I don’t feel the economy is recovering at all.”

With a renewed mandate, analysts believe Abe will look to “double down” on his policies.

“He will push more for structural reform and push more on his Abenomics to get that economic growth that is happening in cities push to the rural countryside,” Stephen Nagy, professor at Tokyo’s International Christian University, told Al Jazeera via Skype.

Source: Al Jazeera