Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he won’t resign despite what he called an “utter defeat” in upper house elections. Abe’s Liberal Democrats and their junior coalition partners are set to lose their upper chamber majority for the first time in 50 years, according to Japanese media.
This does not force Abe out as his coalition still has a strong grip on the more influential lower house. However, failing his first electoral test since taking office 10 months ago will increase the pressure on him to stand down.
The Liberal Democrat party’s campaign chief tried to explain the factors in the defeat:
“The headwind was against us. Pension problems, money and politics scandals and other problems are against us. Those that used to support the LDP may have decided to teach us a lesson” he said.
Taking advantage of Abe’s governmental woes was the opposition Democratic Party. It now has a majority in the upper house of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, making it even harder for Abe to push through reforms should he manage to stay in office.
Some analysts say the lack of an obvious replacement for Abe within his party may allow him to overcome this defeat at the ballot box.