Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s victory in elections to the upper house of parliament yesterday opened a window for him to deliver on promises for structural reforms he says will revive the world’s third-largest economy.
Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its New Komeito ally will have at least a 133 majority in the 242-seat upper house, according to estimates by state broadcaster NHK. The former ruling Democratic Party of Japan slid further into the margins of politics after its collapse in lower house elections in December, leaving the LDP in its strongest position since 2007.
With the Diet avenues now cleared for the government’s bills, the fight for Abe, 58, turns inward — to convince his enlarged party, and a public that turned out in fewer numbers yesterday, that his program of change is worth enacting. Vested interests are lined up against him on everything from making it easier to fire workers to entering a U.S.-led free-trade zone.