PM Abe’s Bloc Wins Key Governor Elections

Candidates backed by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc won two key governor elections on Sunday, setting the stage for him to push through divisive policies to boost defense and restart nuclear reactors shut after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Exit polls showed incumbent governors backed by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and smaller coalition partner Komeito were assured victory in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido and in Oita in the south, Japanese media reported.

Elections including 10 gubernatorial polls, five races for mayors of major cities and 41 prefectural assemblies have been cast as a test for the prime minister’s “Abenomics” recipe to revive the economy, the benefits of which critics say have not spread sufficiently to regions outside Tokyo.