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Home > News Brief > China keyword > New Japanese Prime Minister's China Visit
Shinzo Abe elected Japan's new prime minister
Latest Updated by 2006-09-27 08:28:08
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Parliament members applaud for the election of Shinzo Abe (2nd L Front) as prime minister at the House of Representatives in Tokyo, Sept. 26, 2006. (Xinhua Photo)

The newly-elected president of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Shinzo Abe expectably won the vote in an extra Diet session and was elected the country's new prime minister on Tuesday afternoon.

His earlier victory, with 339 votes out the some 480, in the lower house, which holds the final say in picking a premier, was corresponded in the upper house given the majorities enjoyed by the ruling bloc, made up of the LDP and its coalition partner New Komeito party, in both houses.

As for the matter of procedures, even if the vote result in the House of Representatives was opposed by the House of Councilors, the former has the right to maintain its decision and Abe's victory will be unchanged.

Ichiro Ozawa, president of major opposition Democratic Party of Japan, won 115 votes in the upper house, Japanese Communist Party leader Kazuo Shii garnered 9 votes, Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima obtained 7 votes, and People's New Party head Tamisuke Watanuki got 5 votes, leaving 1 vote blank and void.

In the House of Councillors vote, Abe sealed 136 of all 240 votes, while Ozawa won 85, Shii gained 9, Fukushima received 6 and Watanuki had 4.

BREAKING NOMINATION TRADITION

The 52-year-old conservative hawk, who is a grandson of a former prime minister and son of a former foreign minister, has now become Japan's youngest postwar prime minister and the first premier born after World War II.

Abe, who sealed a landslide victory in the LDP presidential race on Sept. 20 and had been set to succeed Junichiro Koizumi, will announce the lineup of his Cabinet later in the afternoon.

Sources indicated that former Senior Vice Foreign Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki is likely to be nominated chief Cabinet secretary, the post of top government spokesman which will be concurrently given the assignment to handle the issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Former Foreign Minister Taro Aso will resume his post or be given another key Cabinet post, sources close to Abe said.

Abe has indicated that in choosing the Cabinet ministers, he will break traditions of faction balance and appoint members who support his policies and are suitable for their respective posts, according to Kyodo News.

After an attestation ceremony at the Imperial Palace, Abe will give his first news conference as premier in the evening.

TOUGH AND UNCOMPROMISING

Abe started his political career as his father's secretary in 1982 and debuted in Japanese political circles in 1993, winning a House of Representatives seat by running in a constituency in Yamaguchi Prefecture. He was appointed deputy chief Cabinet secretary in the second Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori in 2000.

    In 2002, as Japan's chief negotiator on the issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Abe impressed the Japanese public with his tough and uncompromising attitude.

He was nominated LDP secretary general in 2003 and became a Cabinet member for the first time in the post of chief Cabinet secretary in Junichiro Koizumi's third Cabinet in 2005.


POLICY PLATFORM

In his policy platform announced during the LDP campaign, Abe put replacing the current U.S.-drafted Constitution with Japan's own on the top, and called for strengthening the premier's decision-making powers on defense and foreign affairs.

While accentuating on a stronger Japan-U.S. alliance and describing it as "the most important thing" for Japan's diplomacy and national security, Abe pledged to try to improve relations with Asian neighbors as well.

He also included seeking permanent membership of the UN Security Council, drastically reforming the domestic education system and building sustainable social security system on the gist of his policy platform.

TAKING UP A NEGATIVE LEGACY

Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who stepped onto the post in 2001 and has become Japan's longest-serving leader in three decades, resigned with all of his Cabinet ministers earlier in the day.

In his tenure of more than 5 years, while unilaterally concentrated on the promotion of alliance with the United States, Koizumi insisted on paying visits to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine, engendering a deterioration of relations with China and South Korea and dragging Japan into an embarrassed diplomatic isolation in Asia.

Abe will have to take on the burden to deal with the negative legacy left by Koizumi. He has been called on by people from Japan's political and economic fields to mend the soured ties and buildup a favorable political environment for Japan's foreign business exchanges.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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