• Abe ready if ruling bloc fails to win 61 seats

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    TOKYO: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday he will take responsibility should his ruling Liberal Democratic Party and junior coalition partner Komeito fail to achieve his self-imposed goal of securing more than a majority in July’s Upper House election.

    In a public debate with other party leaders at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Abe renewed his pledge for the LDP-Komeito coalition to win 61 of the 121 seats up for grabs in the crucial summer poll.

    “As both prime minister and leader of the LDP, I will make an all-out effort toward this goal,” Abe said.

    Asked what consequences will arise if the coalition fails to reach the 61-seat goal, he said: “Of course, the goal involves responsibility being taken.” He didn’t elaborate.

    Abe’s remark nonetheless differed from the more diplomatic stances taken by his political allies on the question of whether Abe should quit if he fails.

    In interviews with the media last week, both LDP Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki and Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi avoided clarifying what they think Abe should do in that eventuality and only repeated they will do their best to win.

    In the meantime, Abe acknowledged that his Abenomics policy has yet to achieve full effect and termed it “halfway through.”

    “But we will kick-start its engine and make sure the public will feel the economy has improved,” he said.

    TNS

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