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Japan: Shinzo Abe elected as prime minister
Shinzo Abe has been elected prime minister by Japanís lower house parliament for the second time. Despite resigning after one year of his first term, Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party have surged back to power.
Shinzo Abe was voted in as prime minister by the lower parliament in Tokyo on Wednesday and is expected to choose his administration later in the day.
The upper house is set to vote later Wednesday, but Abe's appointment is all but guaranteed.
Abe was first elected premier in 2006 but after a one-year term troubled by scandal in his cabinet, he abruptly resigned. Abe, and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), have made a stunning comeback with a two-pronged policy of aggressive monetary easing and big fiscal spending to slay deflation.
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After the upper house votes, Abe is set to pick a slate of close allies as well as LDP rivals to fend off the criticism of cronyism that plagued his first administration.
Japanese media have said Abe will name former prime minister Taro Aso, 72, as finance minister.
During the election, Abe promised to take a tough stance in territorial disputes with China and South Korea over separate chains of tiny islands.
Abe, the grandson of a former prime minister, has said his first overseas trip will be to the United States, with whom he has promised closer ties.
The LDP and its ally, the New Komeito party, won a two-thirds majority in the 480-seat lower house in the December 16 election. Japan's upper house parliamentary election will be held in July 2013.
Meanwhile, the yen tumbled to a 20-month low in Asian trading Wednesday ahead of Abe's appointment.
hc/jm (Reuters, AFP)
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