Japan: Ruling party heads to victory in the wake of Abe’s death

Tokyo, July 11 (Bureau) Japan’s ruling party and its coalition partner scored a major victory in a parliamentary election on Sunday, possibly propelled by the sympathy votes in the wake of the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Khaleej Times reported. Early results in the race for the parliament’s upper house showed Abe’s governing party and its junior coalition partner Komeito securing a majority in the chamber and adding more seats. Preliminary vote counts showed that the governing Liberal Democratic Party all set to secure a coalition total of at least 143 seats in the 248-member upper house, the less powerful of the two chambers, giving a likely major boost, to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida who can now be expected to rule without interruption until a scheduled election in 2025.

That would also allow Kishida to work on long-term policy goals such as national security, his signature but still vague “new capitalism” economic policy, and his party’s long-cherished goal to amend the US-drafted postwar pacifist constitution. Kishida and senior party lawmakers observed a moment of silence for Abe at the party election headquarters before placing on the whiteboard victory ribbons next to the names of candidates who secured their seats. In the wake of Friday’s brazen killing, Sunday’s vote took on a new meaning, with all political leaders emphasizing the importance of free speech and their pledge not to back down on violence against democracy.

Kishida welcomed early results and said responses to Covid-19, Russia-Ukraine crisis and rising prices will be his priorities. He said he will also steadily push for reinforcing Japan’s national security as well a constitutional amendment. Early results suggested a charter change proposal is now a possibility. The LDP and its junior partner as well as two supportive opposition parties together are certain to secure enough seats needed for an amendment proposal, which requires a two-thirds majority in both houses. The governing bloc already has secured support in the other chamber.