Japan’s Prime Minister has reaffirmed his intention to remain in office, despite a crushing electoral defeat for his ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Shinzo Abe told a news conference he took the result of the upper house poll “very seriously” and vowed to reshuffle his cabinet. But he said he was staying on because he wanted to “fulfil” his “responsibility” by pushing ahead with reforms. Abe’s coalition was stripped of its upper house majority in his first big electoral test since coming to power ten months ago.
His bloc won’t be ousted from government because it has a huge majority in the more powerful lower chamber. However the drubbing reflects real voter anger at a string of scandals and gaffes and government bungling of pension records. Abe may be keen to pursue economic reform and other plans but, without ruling coalition control of the upper chamber, laws will be hard to enact.