Japan ruling bloc sweeps upper house election after Abe’s killing | Elections News

Japan’s governing celebration and its coalition associate have scored a sweeping victory in an higher home election held within the wake of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination.

The Liberal Democratic Social gathering (LDP) received 63 seats, or greater than half of the 125 seats up for grabs in Sunday’s election, native media reported on Monday.

LDP’s coalition associate Komeito received 13 seats.

Their victory in Sunday’s vote means political forces supportive of revising Japan’s pacifist structure – a long-held ambition of Abe – retain a two-third majority within the 248-member higher chamber.

The Kyodo information company mentioned the pro-constitutional modification camp, which along with the LDP-Komeito coalition, contains the opposition Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Social gathering) and the Democratic Social gathering for the Individuals, now has 179 seats.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, an Abe protege, mentioned late on Sunday that he would push forward with plans to amend the structure, which was imposed on Japan by the US after World Conflict II.

The constitution, handed in 1947, renounces “conflict as a sovereign proper of the nation”, and Abe had lengthy sought to amend that provision, pointing to what he referred to as a “extreme” safety setting, together with China’s rising affect and North Korea’s nuclear and missiles programme.

Kishida mentioned that the ruling coalition “will deepen parliamentary debate over the structure additional so a concrete modification proposal might be compiled”.

However he mentioned addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising costs can be his priorities.

Kishida might transfer cautiously on constitutional change, however the LDP’s victory appeared set to pave the way in which for extra defence spending, mentioned Robert Ward of the Worldwide Institute of Strategic Research.

Kishida “now has a inexperienced mild for this”, Ward informed the Reuters information company.

‘Extraordinarily significant’

The robust consequence of Sunday’s election may also permit Kishida to consolidate his authority within the fractious LDP and ensures him three extra years as prime minister.

Kishida referred to as for celebration unity throughout his handle on the LDP election headquarters and praised Japan for holding the elections, two days after Abe’s demise.

“The election, which is the inspiration of democracy, was challenged by violence,” he mentioned. “It was extraordinarily significant that we carried out the election.”

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and a dominant drive within the LDP, was shot with a home made gun on Friday whereas he was delivering a marketing campaign speech within the western metropolis of Nara. The killing shocked a rustic the place violence is uncommon.

The suspect accused of Abe’s homicide was transferred to a neighborhood prosecutors’ workplace for additional investigation on Sunday, and a prime regional police official acknowledged doable safety lapses allowed the gunman to get near the previous prime minister.

The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, informed investigators he acted due to Abe’s rumoured connection to a company that he resented, police mentioned. Some Japanese media recognized the group because the Unification Church.

As Japan mourned Abe’s killing, the US’s prime diplomat, Antony Blinken visited Tokyo on Monday to ship condolences over the previous chief’s demise.

Blinken, who was in Indonesia for a Group of 20 international ministers assembly when Abe was shot, gave Kishida a letter from President Joe Biden to Abe’s household.

“We merely need them to know that we deeply really feel the loss on the non-public degree as effectively,” Blinken informed Kishida. “Principally I’m right here as a result of the US and Japan are greater than allies – we’re pals.”

Blinken mentioned Abe “did greater than anybody to raise the connection between the US and Japan to new heights”.

His funeral is about for Tuesday.

File wins for ladies

Some observers mentioned Abe’s killing might have generated sympathy votes, with turnout at round 52 p.c, up about three factors from the earlier 48.8 p.c in 2019.

Whereas Sunday’s ballot introduced LDP its finest election consequence since 2013, Kyodo mentioned the principle opposition celebration, the Constitutional Democratic Social gathering of Japan, misplaced six of the seats it held earlier than Sunday’s vote.

It now has 17 seats within the higher home.

Kenta Izumi, the CDP chief, informed celebration leaders late on Sunday that he took the end result as voters “not wanting to change from the LDP and entrust us with operating the federal government”.

He mentioned he wouldn’t give up as celebration chief.

A document variety of girls additionally received seats in Sunday’s election, with some 35 of the 181 feminine candidates who contested the ballot being elected to the higher home.

“The end result displays a gradual however gradual change within the nation’s male-dominated political panorama,” mentioned Kyodo.

‘Like time had stopped’: Japan grapples with Shinzo Abe’s loss | News

Tokyo, Japan – The deadly capturing of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe within the western prefecture of Nara has despatched shockwaves via Japan, a rustic the place firearms are extremely regulated and gun violence is uncommon.

Abe’s physique was returned to Tokyo on Saturday as dozens of journalists gathered exterior his Tomigaya residence within the capital whereas joggers and folks strolling their canines handed by.

Fewer than 10 law enforcement officials had been on the bottom earlier than 8am exterior the residence, however a couple of streets again, a considerably heightened police presence was seen. Al Jazeera counted a minimum of two dozen unmarked and marked automobiles, whereas officers prowled the world.

Abe, 67, remained an essential determine in Japan’s political sphere, wielding vital affect within the governing Liberal Democratic Occasion (LDP) occasion till his demise.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, sometimes called Abe’s protege, mentioned he’s in a state of disbelief. “I’m merely speechless over the information of Abe’s demise,” he advised reporters.

‘Like time had stopped’

Tomigaya, the place Abe lived, together with through the interval he served as prime minister, is a leafy, central neighbourhood – house to embassies and standard cafes and eating places.

Shota Tanamachi, a barista at Espresso Supreme, a restaurant visited by Abe, was shocked by the assassination. Abe was somebody he noticed across the neighbourhood.

“Yesterday, it was terrible,” Tanamachi advised Al Jazeera. He mentioned he tried to keep away from wanting on the photos of the capturing which dominated the entrance pages of Japanese newspapers on Saturday morning.

Shocked residents in Japan had been glued to their telephones as NHK, the nation’s public broadcaster, performed footage of the capturing on loop and particulars in regards to the shooter had been slowly revealed through the day.

Tokyo-based broadcaster Chris Gilbert described a “surreal, heavy silence” because the information broke that Abe had died.

“When the information hit … it was like time had stopped. Everybody was standing and taking a look at their telephones. I feel everybody was realising the identical factor on the identical time,” he mentioned.

From these keen on Abe got here an outpouring of grief. In Nara close to the practice station the place he was shot, residents laid flowers and tokens, prayed and took pictures.

Police patrol the major roads
Law enforcement officials patrol the streets round Abe’s house in Tomigaya, Tokyo [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]

In an announcement, Rahm Emanuel, the US ambassador to Japan known as Abe “a world chief” who was “forward of his time”.

Ichiro Matsui, chief of the opposition Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Occasion), advised media that whereas the 2 belonged to completely different events, they “agreed on the concept of creating Japan higher”.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, a former LDP member, expressed shock on the information. “It doesn’t matter what the explanation could also be, I merely can’t tolerate this act of barbarism,” she mentioned.

Whereas Abe boasted of shut relationships with heads of state, he’s usually fondly remembered in popular culture for showing as Tremendous Mario on the 2016 Rio Olympics.

However in Japan, his picture is extra complicated.

A 20-year-old artistic enterprise proprietor who lives and works in Tomigaya and declined to present his identify, described himself as “in no way” politically engaged, however recalled Abe as a “polarising determine” throughout his time as prime minister.

He discovered the weapon used probably the most shocking element. “What? Weapons in Japan?” he requested in response to Friday’s assassination.

Shinzo Abe’s street in Tomigaya
Shinzo Abe’s residence is on this road in Tomigaya, central Tokyo [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]

“I don’t suppose it’s doable to have [a gun] in Japan,” he mentioned. “I’ve shot some weapons, I’ve seen some weapons, however in Tokyo, in Japan, by no means.”

Police have since confirmed the weapon that killed Abe was selfmade.

Mari Iwata, a media skilled in Tokyo, described Abe as “a villain”, however was shocked by the capturing, saying these against political leaders ought to use the vote, not violence.

One other Tomigaya resident mentioned whereas there have been random acts of violence in Japan, akin to mass stabbings, “it’s unusual to see [gun violence] right here”.

“It’s unbelievable, it’s like one thing you see in films, one thing that isn’t in Japan.”

Press await the arrival of Abe’s body
Reporters await the arrival of Abe’s physique at his house in Tokyo’s Tomigaya neighbourhood [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]

Election to go forward

In streets round Tomigaya, sun-faded marketing campaign posters stay dotted round. Officers say the elections will go forward as deliberate.

Director of the LDP Public Affairs Division Kono Taro tweeted he was “deeply shocked and saddened” by Abe’s passing, and known as serving in his cupboard an honour.

“The LDP is not going to be deterred by violence and can proceed our election marketing campaign to the tip,” he wrote.

Kishida labored carefully with Abe, and the previous prime minister’s insurance policies have served as one thing of a blueprint for the occasion.

Abe, who pushed to rewrite the nation’s pacifist structure, strongly backed Kishida’s push for constitutional reform amid shifting geopolitical dynamics and aggression from North Korea and China within the area.

If Kishida wins sufficient assist throughout Sunday’s higher home elections, he may develop into the primary prime minister to alter the structure since its promulgation after the second world struggle.

Because the nation grapples with the shock and lots of mourn the lack of Abe, the upcoming election outcomes might convey extra sharply into focus the consequences of the previous prime minister’s loss on the LDP.

Japanese newspapers on display
Japanese newspapers on show in a Tokyo retailer after Abe’s assassination [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]