Shinzo Abe Officially Approved as New Japanese Prime Minister

Posted December 26th, 2012 at 2:35 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Shinzo Abe has been confirmed as Japan's next prime minister, marking a return to power for the veteran politician and his Liberal Democratic Party.

Japan's lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved Mr. Abe to form a new government Wednesday, ten days after the conservative LDP trounced the Democratic Party of Japan in parliamentary elections. The LDP ruled Japan for much of the post-World War Two era before being replaced three years ago by the left-leaning DPJ.

Mr. Abe led the LDP to victory on a platform of an easy monetary policy and increased spending on public works to revive Japan's once vibrant economy. He also pledged to take a tougher stance against China over territorial disputes in the Pacific.

Mr. Abe, who is succeeding Yushiko Noda, is Japan's seventh prime minister in six years. He himself assumed the post in 2006, but stepped down after a troubled year in office, citing health problems.

Mr. Abe is expected to name another former prime minister, Taro Aso, as finance minister. Fumio Kishida, a former state minister for issues related to Okinawa island, is expected to assume the foreign ministry post.

The LDP holds 293 seats in the 480-seat lower house, while its coalition partner New Komeito holds 31. The DPJ retains control of the parliament's less powerful upper chamber. Observers say Mr. Abe will focus much of his efforts on boosting the economy ahead of next year's election's for the upper house.