Abe's Focus On North Korea After Japan Election Win

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised to take a firm stance on North Korea, after a predicted landslide win in Sunday's parliamentary elections. "My immediate task is to deal with North Korea," Abe told reporters. "It will take tough diplomacy. With the mandate given by the people, I would like to exercise my command in diplomacy." Abe had called the snap vote to seek a boost to his parliamentary majority and is likely to use any new powers to attempt to overhaul the country's defense strategy and pacifist stance.

An exit poll by public broadcaster NHK forecast a decisive win for Abe's coalition, saying his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) would take 253 to 300 of Parliament's 465 seats. The Komeito party, which is in a coalition with the LDP, is predicted to take 27 to 36 seats. Other local broadcasters reported well over 300 seats by the coalition. Exit polls are not final results and the official count is expected early Monday.

In the face of an increasingly hostile North Korea, Abe earlier this year set a deadline of 2020 to revise Japan's constitution, which contains language that bans Japan from maintaining armed forces. It is a controversial proposal that strikes at the heart of the country's post-war identity. The forecast win also puts Abe, 63, on track to become the longest-serving leader in the country's modern history. His performance at the polls Sunday is an indication his party is likely to re-elect him as their leader for another three years. "I must face with this victory with humility," Abe told NHK after the exit poll results. "The voters gave us, the ruling party, a majority. This is the voice of the Japanese people, telling us to push our policies forward and come out with results."


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