Abe pledges pressure on North Korea after election win
October 23, 2017
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition is set for a two-thirds majority in Sunday's election, according to exit polls. Abe says his imminent task is to deal with the crisis over North Korea.
Abe had vowed to use a planned sales tax hike to fund free child care and thereby encourage more women to enter Japan's workforce.
"I think the results reflected the voters' preference for a solid political foundation and their expectations for us to push polices forward and achieve results," Abe told national broadcaster NHK.
The victory boosts Abe's prospects of securing another three-year term as leader of the LDP next September. This could extend his reign as prime minister until 2021, which would make him Japan's longest-serving head of government.
A weakened opposition
National media such as the Asahi newspaper attributed Abe's win to a weak opposition and lack of convincing rivals. Some 51 percent of voters distrusted Abe, according to a survey run by Kyoto News.
"People are reluctant about Prime Minister Abe, but then who would you turn to? There is no one," said Tokyo Gakushuin University professor Naoto Nonaka.
Heading the opposition with at least 54 seats will be the Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP) led by former chief Cabinet secretary Yukio Edano.