Japan Conservatives Deliver Crushing Defeat to Ruling Liberals

Posted December 16th, 2012 at 7:45 am (UTC-5)
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Japanese media say the conservative opposition has swept to power in Sunday's parliamentary elections, returning hawkish former prime minister Shinzo Abe to power.

The Liberal Democratic Party, which once dominated Japanese politics, will again hold power after three years of center-left rule. The LDP and its coalition partner New Komeito may secure enough seats to hold a two-thirds majority in the powerful lower house – enough to override the upper house.

Although incumbent Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has apparently led his party to a crushing defeat, he is projected to hold onto his seat in parliament.

Analysts say the LDP win will bring in a government promising a tough stance with China over territorial disputes in the Pacific, and government backing for a pro-nuclear energy policy, despite Japan's 2011 nuclear catastrophe.

Mr. Abe has also called for more spending on public works initiatives to pull Japan's once-vibrant economy from its fourth recession in the past 12 years.

Japan remains in a two-decade economic slump, and voter dissatisfaction in 2009 allowed Mr. Noda's DPJ party to wrest power from conservatives, who had dominated Japanese politics for most of the post-World War two era.

Since the landslide DPJ win, critics say the party has failed to deliver on a series of promises, including vows to crack down on wasteful government spending, and promises of cash incentives to encourage young couples to start families.