TOKYO (CNN) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to move forward swiftly with his plans to revive Japan’s staggering economy after weekend elections gave his Liberal Democratic Party control of the upper house of parliament.
The conservative LDP and its coalition partner together won 76 of the 121 seats in the House of Councillors, giving them a total of 133 votes in the 242-member chamber. Afterward, Abe said he wanted to press ahead with his plans — including his economic programs — “with speed.”
“I would like to meet the expectation of the Japanese people,” Abe said after Sunday’s vote. “Since the inauguration of my administration, we have been appealing that our policies are the only way to go. We believe that the Japanese people pushed us to make policy decisions and bring about the result.”
The LDP controls the lower house of the Diet, Japan’s parliament. But until Sunday, the House of Councillors was led by opposition parties that had made it difficult for Abe to get his program through the chamber.
Abe took office in December, becoming Japan’s seventh prime minister in six years and taking a second turn at the job. He immediately launched a program nicknamed “Abenomics,” a combination of coordinated government spending, structural reforms and central bank stimulus.
The plan was to boost prices and end 15 years of deflation, leading to more robust growth for the world’s third-largest economy. And Japan’s economy surged in the first quarter of 2013, growing a faster-than-expected 3.5% — but a stock-market skid in June raised questions about whether policymakers can pull off the high-wire act in the heavily indebted country.
From Yoko Wakatsuki and Matt Smith
CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki reported from Tokyo; Matt Smith reported and wrote from Atlanta.