Kishida vows to take on Abe’s unfinished tasks

(Update 1: adds comments from Kishida, changes head and lede, edits throughout)

Tokyo, Jul 11 ​​(EFE).- Japan’s prime minister said Monday that he would take on the two main unfinished tasks of the late Shinzo Abe – an amendment of the country’s constitution and a resolution of the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea.

In his first appearance after the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)’s resounding win in the Upper House election over the weekend, Fumio Kishida said the environment in Japan and the world was changing rapidly, and there were many problems, and that no one felt this more keenly than Abe.

Kishida added that the problems that Abe couldn’t solve, he would make his own, highlighting the abductions and the constitution.

Speaking to the election, the prime minister said that his LDP had surpassed its objective of securing a majority.

He added that the victory margin showed that Japanese people had seen that the country was on the threshold of a turning point and were trusting his party with the nation’s future.

The LDP achieved its best election results since 2013 with 63 seats, more than half of the 125 that were up for grabs.

Its coalition partner Komeito won 13 seats, for a combined 76. Added to the 70 they hold in the other half of the House, the coalition retains a vast majority of 146 seats in the 248-member legislature, which approves legislative proposals before they head to the powerful Lower House for approval.

Among the tasks that the government has been entrusted with, Kishida mentioned rising inflation, which is affecting food and fuel prices above all.

He also referred to the new defense policy strategy that the government must draw up by the end of the year and with which it seeks to increase its military capabilities.

Kishida said that the government would not eliminate any options, but assess them realistically at a time when defense policies have become especially important due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Another of the main pending projects is the reform of the Japanese constitution, a wish of the late Abe, who was assassinated on Friday while giving a stump speech during a campaign event in Nara.

Kishida said that the amendment had been on the LDP’s agenda since its establishment and he hoped to speed up the start of the process and win enough support from the public for its approval in the course of parliamentary deliberations

The parties in favor of revising the Japanese constitution – the LDP, Komeito, Innovation Party and the Democratic Party for the People, which won five seats on this occasion, together have 177 seats in the Upper House, above the two thirds (166) necessary for any amendment.

The second most voted-for party in Sunday’s election, in which half of the seats in the Upper House were at stake plus one to fill a vacancy, was the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, with 17 seats, six less than in the previous elections.

The nationalist Japan Innovation Party experienced one of the most notable jumps by securing 12 seats, compared to the six it had.

The Japanese Communist Party obtained four seats, which with those it already had in the other half add up to 11; and the liberal Reiwa Shinsengumi, three seats, up to five.

The remaining seats were shared between minority parties and independent candidates.

The Social Democratic Party, represented by its leader, veteran lawmaker Mizuho Fukushima, retained its seat. Fukushima was running for the fifth time.

The number of elected women reached a new high, with 35.

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