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Japan’s ruling bloc claims victory

on July 22, 2013 10:00 AM

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition won a solid majority in the upper house of parliament in elections, gaining control of both chambers and a mandate to press ahead with difficult economic reforms.

The win is an endorsement of the Liberal Democratic Party’s “Abenomics” program, which has helped spark a tentative economic recovery in Japan.

It’s also a vindication for Abe, who lost upper house elections in 2007 during his previous stint as prime minister.

The victory also offers the hawkish Abe more leeway to advance his conservative policy goals, including revising the country’s pacifist constitution and bolstering Japan’s military, which could further strain ties with key neighbors China and South Korea, who are embroiled in territorial disputes with Japan.

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