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Reuters: Japan PM “Suffers Crushing Defeat”

From an elated Reuters:

Japan PM’s bloc suffers crushing defeat at polls

By Linda Sieg

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative ruling camp suffered a devastating defeat in upper house elections on Sunday, a result that could well force him from office and paralyze policy-making.

Voters hammered Abe’s coalition after a string of government scandals and gaffes and the bungling of pension records but he had decided to stay in his post, Japanese media reported.

“I would like to steadily proceed with education reform and revising the constitution,” public broadcaster NHK quoted him as saying.

Abe’s coalition had lost its majority in the upper house, NHK said, in its first nationwide electoral test since he took office 10 months ago pledging to boost Japan’s security profile and rewrite its pacifist constitution.

“If the outcome is in line with projections, it was a complete defeat,” Hidenao Nakagawa, the LDP’s secretary-general, told reporters. But he added that he wanted Abe to stay.

NHK said its exit polls showed that the LDP and its partner, New Komeito, winning between 39 and 55 seats — far short of the 64 needed to keep their majority in the upper house, where half of the 242 seats were up for grabs.

Abe’s coalition will not be ousted from government by a loss in the upper house, since it has a huge majority in the more powerful lower chamber, which elects the premier [sic].

But, with the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan on track to become the biggest party in the chamber, laws will be hard to enact, threatening policy deadlock.

Critics say Abe, whose top priorities are revising the constitution and reforming education to nurture patriotism, was out of touch with voters…

One supposes this is news, even though the author is forced to admit that in fact it will not force Mr. Abe from office.

The upper house, Japan’s Senate, is almost completely ceremonial. (And he’s not a “premier,” but a prime minister.)

And yet Abe’s election wasn’t considered news by most of our one party media. And when they did bother to report it, his conservatism was played down.

Weird, huh?

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, July 29th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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