TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Japanese upper house elections (all times local):
12:55 a.m. Monday
Japanese media say Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc will not reach the two-thirds majority in the upper house needed to propose a constitutional revision even if joined by supporters from another party and independents.
Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner Komeito have so far won 69 seats, securing the majority of the 124 seats up for grabs in Sunday’s upper house election. The less powerful of Japan’s parliamentary chambers does not choose the prime minister.
Abe had hoped to win enough seats to increase his chances of a revision to Japan’s pacifist constitution to allow Japanese forces a greater role in international disputes. Constitutional reform has already been a challenge because voters are more concerned about jobs, economy and social security.
He now has slimmer chances of achieving his long-cherished goal before his term ends in 2021.
10:55 p.m. Sunday
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has welcomed results showing his coalition bloc has secured a majority in upper house elections, saying it reflects a public mandate for his policies.
Abe said, “I believe the people chose political stability, urging us to pursue our policies and carry out diplomacy to protect Japan’s national interests.”
Abe was at his party’s election headquarters following Sunday’s election, placing red ribbons on winners’ names written on a panel.
He hopes to gain enough seats to boost chances for revising the pacifist constitution, his long-cherished goal before his term ends in 2021, though it’s a challenge because voters are mainly interested in jobs and economy. Abe said he is not considering running for another term.