Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, brushing aside suggestions that a low turnout tarnished his coalition’s election win, vowed on Monday to stick to his reflationary economic policies, tackle painful structural reforms and pursue his muscular security stance. But doubts persist as to whether Abe, who now has a shot to become a rare long-lasting leader in Japan, can engineer sustainable growth with his “Abenomics” recipe of hyper-easy monetary policy, government spending and promises of deregulation. “We heard the voice of the people saying ‘Move forward with Abenomics’,” Abe told a news conference at his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) headquarters, adorned with giant posters of the premier and his campaign slogan “This is the only path”. … Many voters, doubtful of both the premier’s “Abenomics” strategy to end deflation and generate growth and the opposition’s ability to do any better, stayed at home.
Turnout was an estimated record low of 53.3 percent, well below the 59.3 percent in a 2012 poll that returned Abe to power for a rare second term on pledges to reboot an economy plagued by deflation and an ageing, shrinking population.
In a sign of the fragility of Abe’s mandate, the LDP won 75 percent of the seats in single-member districts that account for 295 lower house seats with just 48 percent of the vote, data in the Tokyo Shimbun metropolitan newspaper showed.