It appears that, politically at least, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has scored a great victory in the snap election he called, where exit polls suggest he will preserve the “supermajority” he won in 2012. His LDP-led coalition is on course to take 317 seats in the 475 seat lower house.
Abe called for the vote to give himself a clear four years with a stronger mandate to carry out his controversial economic reforms. But that claim may be undermined by the turnout, which looks likely to hit a record low.
While politically Abe is on top, many believe his economics have hit rock bottom.
“Many of Abe’s policies cannot be implemented any more, and everyone agrees that ‘Abenomics’ is in trouble. As for diplomacy, Abe has not properly handled diplomatic relations with China, either of the two Koreas, the United States and Russia among others. However hard Abe tries to hold onto the current situation, his policy failures are obvious, but he cannot see this,” says analyst Amaki Naoto.
The next electoral test will be local elections in April, but after them Abe is home free until 2016, unless he falls victim to LDP in-fighting, as criticism of his policies is growing in his own ranks.
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