Japan’s Ruling Coalition Wins Tokyo Election Ahead of July Poll

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner won nearly two thirds of the seats in a weekend Tokyo assembly poll, boding well for the party’s prospects in a national upper house election in July.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s LDP took 59 seats and ally New Komeito secured 23 seats of the 127 up for grabs in the assembly, according to the Nikkei newspaper. The LDP became the largest single party, replacing the Democratic Party of Japan, which won 15 seats, down from the 43 it held going into the election.

Victory for the LDP coalition in a national ballot for the upper chamber of parliament expected on July 21 would end the hung parliament that has hampered decision-making. The LDP won by a landslide in a December general election, pledging a three-part strategy to revive the economy.

“I think there is a degree of recognition for what we have achieved in the first six months of our administration,” Abe told reporters in Tokyo late yesterday. “I will do everything I can to help many people feel that the economy has begun to improve.”

Abe and his cabinet ministers say his economic strategy, consisting of unprecedented monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and a plan to stimulate private investment, is working. Gross domestic product grew 4.1 percent on an annualized basis in January-March, faster than 1.2 percent in the previous quarter.

A survey published by the Nikkei newspaper today found 47 percent of respondents planned to vote for the LDP in the proportional representation section of the upper house election. The paper surveyed 918 people by phone between June 21-23 and did not give a margin of error.

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