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Abe 'must change' to build ties

By Li Xiaokun and Zhang Yunbi in Beijing and Cai Hong in Tokyo  (China Daily)

08:55, December 17, 2012

The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan's won an emphatic election victory, but tension with China will continue if party chief Shinzo Abe ditches pragmatism and follows his hawkish campaign rhetoric, experts said.

Immediately after his victory was confirmed, Abe promised improved ties with China at a news conference, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The LDP won a commanding majority — nearly 300 seats in the 480-member lower house — and with its ally the New Komeito Party winning about 30 seats, a government can be easily formed.

However, Abe will have to tread carefully as he cannot afford to sacrifice Japan's economic interests in China and may have to pursue a dual policy of being tough on territorial issues while promoting business ties, experts said.

Abe will be Japan's seventh prime minister in six years.

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