Politicians set stage ahead of December lower house election


Japanese politicians drew battle lines yesterday ahead of a December 16th election. The long-dominant Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is likely to return to power under a conservative former premier, raising concerns about the future of Tokyo’s already chilly ties with Beijing.

Prime minister Yoshihiko Noda urged voters to shun jingoism after rival LDP leader Shinzo Abe, who has vowed not to yield in a territorial row with China, said he would build a strong Japan.

The election for parliament’s lower house is expected to usher in Japan’s seventh prime minister in six years, but is unlikely to fix a policy stalemate that has plagued a country struggling with an ageing population, a declining manufacturing sector and the emerging power of China.

“This fight is about restoring Japan. We will regain a strong economy,” Mr Abe, whose party is tipped to come out on top in the poll, told a news conference. “We’ll restore foreign policy. We will strongly appeal to voters on the need to restore the Japan- US alliance, which was badly damaged by the Democratic Party government,” said Abe. – (Reuters)