TOKYO, July 10, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Shinzo Abe (1st R) puts a rosette on the name of a candidate who is expected to win in the upper house election, at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, July 10, 2016. The Japanese ruling camp led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to win a majority in Sunday's upper house election, according to exit polls by local media. (Xinhua/Ma Ping)
TOKYO, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese ruling camp led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe retained its majority in the parliament's upper house through a victory on Sunday's election in the chamber and paved way to Constitution amendment as upper house lawmakers who support to review the country's war-renouncing Constitution reached two-thirds majority, final election result showed early Monday.
Half seats in the 242-member chamber was contested in the election and the ruling camp secured XX seats, with the prime minister's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) gaining 55 seats and its small ruling partner of the Komeito Party winning 14 seats.
After acknowledging that the ruling coalition won the election and retained the majority in the upper house, Abe told a press briefing during the vote counting that the result showed that his decision on sales tax hike postponement was correct and vowed to promote economy in the future.
In a very cautious way, the prime minister said that the Constitution amendment should be discussed more. "Different parties have different viewpoints on the issue, therefore more discussions should be done, even among the parties that support the amendment," said Abe, but adding that the issue should be raised to the Japanese public.
To launch a Constitution review motion requires approval by two-thirds majority in both chambers of the Japanese bicameral parliament. The Abe-led ruling bloc already secured the overwhelming majority in the lower house.
The prime minister is a well-known historical revisionist who expressed his eagerness to review the Japanese pacifist Constitution many times. He indicated before the election that he will try to discuss the Constitution review during the autumn parliament session.
Abe also expressed his disappointment over the election failure of incumbent Minister in charge of Okinawa affairs, but he added that the ruling camp will continue push the planned relocation of the key U.S. Futenma airbase within the Japanese southernmost prefecture of Okinawa.
The failure of the Okinawa affairs minister, to some extent, showed serious divergence between the Japanese central government and the Okinawa prefectural government over U.S. base relocation issue, especially after a recent notorious murder case that a U.S. former marine corps killed an Okinawan woman and abandoned her body.
The prime minister will also plan to reshuffle its cabinet based on the election outcome and to compile a new stimulus package so as to push his "Abenomics."
The largest opposition party here, the Democratic Party, gained 32 seats on Sunday, marking an improved performance than what three years ago. Katsuya Okada, head of the Democratic Party, said that the party is recovering but not sufficient, adding his party will pay more attention to citizen's involvement in the politics.
Okada said he will continue his work as the party's leader until September, but he stopped short that whether he will run for the party's head election to be held in the same month.
However, voters here voiced their contradictory feeling over the election. A 30-year-old voter who identified herself as Shibata told Xinhua outside a polling office at Shibuya earlier the day that "I am against amending the Constitution, because it's likely to drag Japan into war. But I still voted for the LDP, because I don't like the opposition parties either. People say that the LDP is going to change the constitution. I really don't know what to do."
For Shibata, however, the problem is, if she did not vote for the LDP, who could she vote for, as in her eyes, the opposition parties seemed to have also failed to offer feasible solutions to the problems that Japan is faced with.
Shibata's words were echoed by Yamaguchi, a 20-year-old company employee who voted for the first time on Sunday. "I don't know much about these candidates. And I don't know what constitutional amendment really means to us," she said, after casting her ballots.
Voter turnout was estimated at 53.66 percent, slightly higher than the 52.61 percent in the previous upper house election in 2013. The Japanese Kyodo News said that the additional 2.4 million new voters aged between 18 to 19 have done little to boost turnout.
by Yan Lei, Liu Tian
TOKYO, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese ruling camp led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has won a majority in Sunday's upper house election, which means Abe's coalition and like-minded parties managed to take thetwo-thirds majority needed to try to revise the nation's post-war pacifist Constitution.
The result came as no big surprise to the public, but as Abe sweeps away obstacles to amending Japan's pacifist Constitution, the development of the situation might still surprise voters, as with the ruling coalition controlling both chambers of the parliament, Abe now faces little political resistance in carrying out his political agenda. Full story
TOKYO, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Voting for the Japanese parliament's House of Councillors, or the upper house, kicked off on Sunday with the main focus on whether or not the constitution-amending forces could take an overwhelming majority in the 242-member chamber.
Half seats of the upper house are up to grab every three years. A total of 389 candidates will contest in the vote through a mix of constituencies and proportional representation. Full story