Abe vows to stay after election defeat(video)

( AP ) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led his scandal-stained ruling coalition to an unexpectedly severe defeat in parliamentary elections Sunday, a stunning reversal of fortune for a party that has controlled Japan virtually uninterrupted since 1955. Despite the humiliating setback, Abe vowed to stay in office.

Official election results released Monday showed Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, New Komeito, losing their majority in the 242-seat upper house. The two retained 103 seats, a 30-seat loss well short of the 122 needed to control the chamber.

The leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan made huge gains in the race for the 121 contested seats. It now has 112 seats, up from 81.

It would be unusual for a prime minister to step down after an upper-house defeat. But calls for Abe's resignation from within his own party are expected to grow.

Looking grim and chastened, the prime minister called the results "severe" but dismissed questions about whether he should resign. He was expected to meet with New Komeito leader Akihiro Ota later Monday to confirm their partnership.

"I must push ahead with reforms and continue to fulfill my responsibilities as prime minister," Abe said at his party's headquarters. "The responsibility for this utter defeat rests with me."

LDP's loss in the less-powerful upper house would not immediately threaten its political grip because it controls the lower chamber, which chooses the prime minister. But the defeat could make it more difficult for the LDP to pass bills, while enlivening policy debates.

Abe dismissed opposition calls for an election for the lower house to test his mandate.

"The nation has spoken very clearly," Democratic Party of Japan leader Naoto Kan told reporters. "Naturally, our sights are on the lower house and our final goal is a change in government."

Japan's largest newspaper, Yomiuri, on Monday called the results, "a major blow to the Abe government," and added: "The results would largely affect Prime Minister Abe's political management and parliamentary operation."

Asahi, another major paper, declared "The prime minister should face the results seriously and step down."

Abe's top lieutenant, party No. 2 Hidenao Nakagawa, said late Sunday he would step down to take responsibility for the party's setback.

"If the results are as projected, we have suffered an utter defeat," Nakagawa said hours after the polls closed.

Abe also said he plans to reshuffle his Cabinet after a special session of Parliament, which has not yet been scheduled.

"Voters said we must reflect on our shortcomings and refresh the lineup," Abe said. "I plan to reshuffle the Cabinet and top party posts at an appropriate time."

Abe, 52, took office in September as Japan's youngest-ever prime minister, promising to build a "beautiful Japan," and won points for mending strained diplomatic ties with South Korea and China.

But his honeymoon was short-lived.

In the first in a series of scandals, Administrative Reform Minister Genichiro Sata stepped down in December over charges of misusing of political funds. In May, Abe's agriculture minister killed himself amid allegations he also misused public money. The new agriculture minister became embroiled in another funds scandal.

The government was severely criticized again last month when Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma suggested the 1945 U.S. nuclear bombings of Japan were justified. Public outcry led to Kyuma's speedy departure.

Perhaps the final straw for voters was Abe's brushing off warnings by the opposition late last year that pension records had been lost. That inaction came back to haunt him in the spring, when the full scope of the records losses emerged. Some 50 million claims had been wiped out.

"I don't like Abe or the LDP. I don't get the feeling things have gotten better," said Masayoshi Miyazaki, 58, a Tokyo retiree, after polls closed.

Party officials said last week they would keep Abe no matter what happens, and resigning in the face of a heavy election defeat is rare, but not unprecedented.

In 1998, then-Prime Minster Ryutaro Hashimoto was forced to step down after the Liberal Democratic Party won just 44 seats out of 121. Sousuke Uno lost his job as prime minister after winning only 36 seats in 1989. Abe himself resigned as secretary-general of the party in 2004, when the Liberal Democrats won 49 seats, two short of their goal.

Some unconventional candidates from outside the two major parties also fared badly Sunday. Alberto Fujimori, the former Peruvian authoritarian leader; Yuko Tojo, the granddaughter of the executed wartime general who ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor; and the popular inventor Dr. Nakamats were all headed for defeat, according to projections.

Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19
Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19
UAE confirms it inked $23 billion deal to buy F-35 jets, drones from U.S.
UAE confirms it inked $23 billion deal to buy F-35 jets, drones from U.S.
86 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast
86 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast
Loading Bars
Latest
Indian gov't confirms outbreak of bird flu
Bulgaria to ease some COVID-19 rules, restaurants closed for now
COVID-19 vaccine delays may slow wider Irish roll-out, says PM
Uzbek-Korean Uz-Kor Gas Chemical to buy spare parts for water purifier via tender
Georgia increases import of vehicles from Turkey
Geostat reveals volume of ferroalloys exported from Georgia to Turkey
Iran oil export never reached zero - Iran's Oil Minister
Azerbaijani expert talks impact of recycling old cars on traffic jams
Weekly review of highlights in Azerbaijani ICT sector
Uzbekistan’s Uzpromstroybank reveals plans for strategic dev’t in 2021
WHO chief thanks India, PM Modi for 'support to global Covid-19 response'
Yukselish competition organizes webinar presented by Azerbaijani president's assistant (PHOTO)
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 23
Azerbaijan shares footage from Ashaghy Maralyan village of Jabrayil district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Turkmenistan taking measures to further increase volume of cotton production
Iran to increase Shiraz municipality budget
Azerbaijani oil prices fall
Georgia sees decrease in COVID-19 cases
Russia reports 20,921 coronavirus cases over day, record low since November 11
Iran-Iraq-Syria transit route would improve economy - Iran's Minister of Road
Azerbaijan and Turkey ink MoU to support SMEs (PHOTO)
Karabakh's geography allows developing various tourism products - Azerbaijan Tourism Board
Standard & Poor's upgrades Azerbaijan's credit rating outlook
Georgian import of medical products from Turkey down
Uzbekistan reveals COVID-19 data for January 23
Brazil President Bolsonaro thanks PM Modi for 'sanjeevni booti' against Covid with Hanuman pic
India's COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy shines in South Asia and beyond
Cooperation on North-South Corridor to be researched during Iran’s FMA visit to Azerbaijan
First Batch of COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive in Myanmar from India
Iranian currency rates for January 23
Joint dev't of Dostlug field to be commercially, technically attractive - Wood Mackenzie
Socio-economic situation in Armenia deteriorating - Azerbaijani MP
AstraZeneca to supply 31 million COVID-19 shots to EU in first quarter, a 60% cut
Iran and Cuba to increase production capacity of COVID-19 vaccine
Iran and Russia to increase transportation ties
One Year to Special Olympics World Winter Games Kazan 2022
Azerbaijan producing lubricants based on new components
Azerbaijan to soon start issuing lump-sum subsidies to orchard farmers
Cancelling SMS permits due to eased quarantine raises passenger traffic in Baku
Turkey halts flights from Brazil due to new COVID-19 variant
COVAX to purchase 40 mln doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine - WHO
Kazakhstan welcomes entry into force of Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
Fitch downgrades three Georgian Banks' support ratings
Tax authorities of Kyrgyzstan, Russia discuss launch of joint project
Chinese Mission to EU condemns European Parliament for interfering in Hong Kong affairs
Dev't of "green" energy potential in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region to attract investments
Denmark halts UAE flights for five days over COVID-19
UK business activity suffers steep slump in January amid fresh lockdown
Kazakhstan boosts exports volume to Canada amid COVID-19
Kenya Airways suspends flights to France, Netherlands due to COVID-19
Italy tells TikTok to block users after death of young girl
UK records another 40,261 coronavirus cases, 1,401 deaths
Canada's Trudeau presses Pfizer CEO on vaccine shortage, hints at travel crackdown
Swiss court finds Israeli businessman Beny Steinmetz guilty of corruption
Georgian ski resorts remain closed
Kazakhstan increases volume of petroleum oil exported to Germany
Four men jailed for manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants in UK
Reports that Azerbaijani Minister of Sports fell into coma - not true
Turkey registers more than 5 967 new coronavirus cases
Iran has increased oil export - Minister
UAE confirms it inked $23 billion deal to buy F-35 jets, drones from U.S.
Georgian President meets EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement
Azerbaijan discloses trade surplus with Romania
East Kazakhstan prolongs restrictions
Azerbaijani State Customs Committee exceeds forecast of budget receipts in 2020
‘Bibiheybat’ Ship Repair Yard completes overhaul of ‘Ramiz Hajiyev’ floating crane
Azerbaijan’s export of precious stones and natural pearls up
State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan unveils budget revenues and expenditures
Azerbaijan's Central Bank talks images of new manat banknotes appearing on social media
Azerbaijan discloses area of liberated lands sown with wheat in Aghdam
Azerbaijan confirms 632 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijani, Georgian FMs exchange views on latest situation in region
Period of revival of previously occupied Azerbaijani lands already began - ambassador
Denim production to be launched at textile enterprise in Uzbek Bukhara region
Azerbaijani expert talks future plans for import of hydrogen vehicles
Georgia - one of largest beneficiaries of EBRD investments per capita
USAID provides comprehensive support to entrepreneurship dev’t in Turkmenistan
French Proparco provides Georgian hospitals with grant to support COVID-19 battle
Uzbekistan to make strengthening relations with states of Central Asia priority
Georgia to establish blackberry plantation via state program
India’s role in combating COVID-19 through vaccine development and manufacturing
Russian Gazprombank expecting Azerbaijani sovereign rating's return to 'stable' outlook
Support for revival of Nagorno-Karabakh must become way of life – Azerbaijani minister
Tesla Israel headquarters nears completion
Armenian soldiers demanding compensation for participation in Karabakh war
Azerbaijan shows footage from Yukhari Abdurrakhmanli village of Fuzuli (VIDEO)
Azercell is always leading with its exemplary service quality
Uzbekistan may consider temporary suspension of yarn exports
Georgia reveals volume of domestic debt
Walmart expands vaccinations in boost to U.S. COVID-19 program
Israeli company eyes creating lavender plantations in Uzbek Namangan region
Georgia reveals volume of imported oil bitumen
European standard bakery to open with support of Bank of Georgia
Kazakhstan investing in Georgia across wide range of economy spheres
Georgia sees decrease in import of aviation fuel
Azerbaijani president declared Karabakh status issue - thing of the past, MFA says
Dagestan starts exporting ceramic products to Azerbaijan
Georgian RMG Gold company's total sales increase
Demand for notes of Central Bank of Azerbaijan exceeds supply
Assessment of damage caused by Armenia to Azerbaijani civilian objects continues
All news