26 May 2019
Japan's voters have endorsed Shinzo Abe's policies. Photo: Reuters
Japan's voters have endorsed Shinzo Abe's policies. Photo: Reuters

Election triumph a big boost for Abenomics

Shinzo Abe’s coalition achieved a convincing victory in Japan’s elections on Sunday.

The result means the prime minister will retain his reflationary economic policies and a muscular security stance, Reuters reported.

However, a record low turnout at the polls indicated broad dissatisfaction among citizens with his performance.

NHK public TV said Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner, the Komeito party, were assured of more than the 317 seats in the 475-member lower house required to maintain a two-thirds “super majority” that guarantees passing of government bills in parliament.

But the LDP was set to fall slightly short of the 295 it held before the poll, NHK figures showed.

“I believe the public approved of two years of our ‘Abenomics’ policies,” Abe said in a televised interview. “But that doesn’t mean we can be complacent.”

Many voters, doubtful of both the premier’s “Abenomics” strategy to end deflation and generate growth and the opposition’s ability to do any better, stayed at home.

Final turnout will be a record low of 52.4 percent, media forecast, below the 59.3 percent in the 2012 election that returned Abe to power for a rare second term on pledges to reboot an economy plagued by deflation and an aging, shrinking population.

Market analysts said the widely expected outcome would be positive for shares and negative for the yen in the near term given expectations Abe will stick to his “Three Arrows” strategy of ultra-easy monetary policy, government spending and reforms, Reuters said.

However, doubts remain over whether Abe will deliver on his “Third Arrow” of reforms in politically sensitive areas such as labor market deregulation and an overhaul of the highly protected farm sector.

Progress has been limited so far, partly due to opposition from members of Abe’s own party.

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