Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won comfortable re-election Sunday in a snap poll he had billed as a referendum on his economic policies after early success faded into a recession
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won comfortable re-election Sunday in a snap poll he had billed as a referendum on his economic policies after early success faded into a recession.
But a low turnout from unenthusiastic voters beset by a heavy snowfall across much of the country could cast doubt on the endorsement he will claim for "Abenomics" -- his signature plan to fix the country's flaccid economy.
Media exit polls shortly after voting finished showed his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior partner Komeito had swept the ballot, with an unassailable two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament that will give them the power to override the upper house.
TV Asahi said the pairing had won 333 of the 475 seats, while TBS put the figure at 328. The online version of the respected Nikkei newspaper said the LDP alone had won between 290 and 310 seats, and was "on course to secure the two thirds (317 seats) in the chamber with coalition partner Komeito".
Abe, 60, was only halfway through his four-year term when he called the vote last month. The first two of his "three arrows" of Abenomics -- monetary easing and fiscal stimulus -- have largely hit their targets; the once-painfully high yen has plunged, giving exporters a boost, and stocks have risen dramatically.
Prices have also begun rising after years of treading water -- proof, says Abe, that this is the beginning of a virtuous circle of economic growth, with higher wages soon to follow.