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> 2013-07-21 18:37:19
Japan's government gains control of upper house
(Vatican Radio) In Japan, the polls have closed in an election that appeared to give the government control of the nation's Senate. As Alastair Wanklyn reports from Tokyo, the ruling party is pledging to end the quarter-century of economic stagnation.
There were celebrations as Japan's Liberal Democratic Party secured a Senate majority and therefore a green light for proposed reforms, including further measures to boost Japan's economy.
Prime Minster Shinzo Abe said the results show voters want that, but he also wants to change Japan's constitution, a proposal that divides opinion here. That would make it possible to upgrade the armed forces into a fully fledged military, something opposed by the Buddhist party that shares power in the ruling coalition.
Overseas, China criticises Abe's proposals, but the United States broadly supports them.
"Prime Minister Abe is criticized for being a nationalist. But if being a nationalist means devoting your political effort to making your country stronger, well, that's exactly what Japan needs and that's exactly what the U.S. needs from Japan."
Michael Greene of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Meanwhile, today's election held some surprises:
...there were gains for Japan's Communists, and...
...victory for some independents who campaigned to abolish nuclear power. Listen to Alastair Wanklyn reporting from Tokyo