Japan: Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc keeps 2/3 majority, according to exit polls

abeTOKIYO: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition won a massive victory in Sunday’s election, media exit polls showed, in a vote the Japanese leader has dubbed a referendum on his reflationary recipe for reviving the world’s third-biggest economy. Exit polls showed the coalition would win a two-thirds majority in the 475-seat lower house, but Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party fell short of such a “super-majority” on its own.
Abe, 60, called the election two years early in order to obtain a fresh mandate for his “Abenomics” strategy of hyper-easy monetary policy, fiscal stimulus and structural reforms after his decision to put off an unpopular sales tax rise next year for fear it would derail a recovery already in doubt. Abe could use the big win – which appears to have come on the back of rock-bottom turnout – to push ahead with painful economic reforms, analysts say, but might instead turn more attention to his conservative agenda that includes revising Japan’s pacifist constitution to ease limits on the military.

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