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Abe eyes upcoming election to restore political stability


14:54, July 04, 2013

TOKYO, July 4 (Xinhua) -- As the election campaign for Japan's upper house has officially kicked off, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed that his party, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), will try to win the poll to put an end to the "divided Diet" so as to restore political stability in the country.

Abe reiterated that he needs to win the majority in the upper house in order to pave way to better implement his economic policies that dubbed "Abenomics" with its three arrows of bold monetary easing, flexible financial policy and stimulus in private sector.

"I resolved to end the divided relations between the two chambers in the Diet by winning the upper house election, and will secure stability in politics," Abe said Wednesday during a debate between nine political parties' leaders at the Japan National Press Club.

In the upcoming election, half of the 242 seats in the chamber are up for grabs under the combination of constituencies and proportional representation, while about 430 candidates are expected to compete for the 121 rotating seats.

Abe's LDP, along with its ruling ally the New Komeito Party, has to secure 63 seats to win a majority in the chamber, as they already hold 59 seats that will not be contested this time.

As of now, the opposition parties remains the majority in the upper house, with the largest party in the chamber, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), holding 86 seats, making the Japanese Diet a divided parliament as the ruling camp has an overwhelming majority in the more powerful lower house.

Banri Kaieda, leader of the DPJ, said in the leaders' debate that the upper house election is not a poll to regain power but one to stop the LDP and criticized that Abe's economic policies has side effects that has triggered prices surge and increased costs of people's lives.

The DPJ was ousted from its three-year ruling position by the LDP in last December's lower house election, in which the ruling coalition secured 325 seats in the 480-seat chamber.

The LDP aims to achieve average nominal economic growth of 3 percent and average real economic growth of 2 percent over the next decade and reach a primary balance surplus by fiscal 2020, as well as considering taking measures to help people and industries affected by the yen's recent depreciation.

It also eyes to relax rules for initiating constitutional amendments, to restart nuclear power plants that are confirmed safe and join the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership talks.

However, the DPJ said it will give an alternative of the " Abenomics" and oppose the relaxation on constitution amendment, adding it will also try to phase out nuclear power in the country by the 2030s.

According to recent polls by Japanese media, the LDP scored high support ratings of between 42 percent and 45 percent ahead of the upper house election to be held on July 21, far exceeding those of the largest opposition DPJ.

The Yomiuri Shimbun released Monday in its nationwide survey that 42 percent of respondents said they intend to vote for the LDP in the proportional representation section, while 9 percent said they plan to vote for the DPJ, which polled second.

The survey was conducted between Friday and Sunday on 1,821 eligible voters, of whom 1,061 responded.

In another survey made by the Asahi Shimbun from Saturday to Sunday, 44 percent of respondents support the LDP in the proportional representation section, against 7 percent for the DPJ.

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