Conservatives return to power in Japan election


A boy helps his mother (R) to cast a vote in the general election at a polling station in Funabashi, suburban Tokyo on December 16, 2012. Voters began casting ballots in Japan for a general election likely to return long-ruling conservatives to power after three years in the wilderness.


Tadayuki Yoshikawa

Japan's right-leaning Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) scored a major win in Sunday's election, winning nearly 300 parliamentary seats and looking to land a coalition-led majority in the lower house, according to BBC News

The win signals new policy priorities for Tokyo. The LDP takes a strong stance on China, is pro-nuclear, and champions loose monetary policies, according to Reuters

The US was monitoring the vote closely, according to GlobalPost's Justin McCurry, saying Washington was "frustrated" by the "lack of direction in foreign policy" under the former ruling party. But the rightward-shift "could spell further trouble for Japan’s relations with China, a scenario the US is desperate to avoid," said McCurry. 

The LDP landslide also indicates growing economic frustration as Japan hurtles toward its fourth recession since 2000. 

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Outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Sunday took the blame for the loss by the governing Democratic Party, saying the "biggest responsibility lies on me" and vowed to step down as party chairman, said CNN

The party lost big -- going from 230 to 57 seats, said BBC, citing local press. 

Founded in 1955, the LDP has been in power for much of the party's history.

Lawmakers are expected to install former leader Shinzo Abe as new prime minister on December 26, said Reuters.

The move would see him Japan's seventh prime minister in six years, according to SKY

Official results are expected to be announced later today, but BBC cited local media as reporting that the LDP had scored 294 seats and is likely to ally with the New Komeito Party, which won 31 seats, giving them a majority.