Japan Ruling Bloc Wins Upper House Election

Posted at: 07/21/2013 8:24 AM

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese broadcasters project that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition has won a majority of seats in the upper house of parliament, giving it control of both chambers for the first time in six years.

The win in Sunday's elections is a vote of confidence for Abe's economic program, which has helped spark a tentative recovery, and gives him a legislative mandate to push ahead on difficult economic reforms.

Based on exit polls, public broadcaster NHK predicted that Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner New Komeito together won 71 seats, giving them a total of 130 in the 242-seat upper house, where half the seats were up for grabs.

Official results aren't expected until early Monday.

Media reports said voter turnout was low, suggesting a lack of enthusiasm.

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