Japan’s conservative-leaning party is back in power after a landslide election victory Sunday, driving out Yoshihiko Noda's Democratic Party (DJP) from rule after three years. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) chief, Shinzo Abe, would be returning as prime minister of the country after three years of absence.
According to initial tallies, LDP won 293 out of the 480 seats in Japan’s lower house. Shinzo Abe promised to introduce reforms to the stagnant Japanese economy and stand up to a growingly aggressive China.
"I think the results do not mean we have regained the public's trust 100%. Rather, they reflect 'no votes' to the DPJ's politics that stalled everything the past three years," Abe said, according to Sky News. "Now we are facing the test of how we can live up to the public's expectations, and we have to answer that question."
The election result underscores rising conservative sentiments in Japan and signifies potentially violent relationship between China and Japan, the nations locked in ownership disputes of a number of islands. China's claim of ownership of the islands had been latent until the Japanese government purchased them from an individual who owned them earlier this year.
Mr. Abe, 58, is widely considered a hawkish and conservative leader whose earlier term in office concluded ignominiously. Amid plunging popularity, he resigned on grounds of poor health.
Japan’s Liberal Democrats held almost absolute control on government from 1955 to 2009, when they lost to the Democratic Party of Japan. This election cycle, the Democratic Party was anticipated to win only 56 seats. Prime Minister Yoshiko Noda stepped down as head of the party hours after the polls ended, admitting the vote results were a “disappointment.”
Abe supports amendments in Japan’s post-World War II constitution to untie restrictions on the military and has pledged a strong defense of Japanese dominion.
“A good Japan-China relationship is in the national interest for both countries. Both sides need to recognize that. I think there is a problem that China lacks that understanding,’’ Abe told Japanese television after the polls closed, according to the LA Times.
Putting Japan's economy on track will be the major home-challenge for Mr. Abe’s government. He has vowed to introduce “unlimited” monetary easing and large expenditures on public welfare. Japan is about to go into its fourth economic slump since 2000 and has a public debt double the amount of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).