• Japan upper house elections set July 21

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    TOKYO: Japan’s government on Friday confirmed the date of upper-house elections next month, with opinion polls tipping a big win for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party, clearing the way for him to push through much-needed economic reforms.

    A cabinet meeting declared voters would be asked to choose half of the 242-member House of Councilors on July 21.

    Official campaigning will start on Thursday for the first national test of public sentiment since Abe took office in December with a pledge to pull the world’s third largest economy out of 15 years of deflation.

    Voters in Tokyo on Sunday endorsed his policy blitz, dubbed “Abenomics,” when they handed his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) a landslide victory in elections for the city’s Metropolitan Assembly.

    The vote was widely seen as a dress rehearsal for the upper house poll.

    “Abenomics,” which blends massive monetary easing, big fiscal spending and a series of reforms aimed at freeing up businesses, has dominated the opening months of the administration.

    AFP

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