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US congratulates Japan's Abe on re-election

15 december 2014, 11:21

 The United States welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's easy re-election victory Sunday in snap polls, hailing his "strong leadership" on international crises, AFP reports.

"The US-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

"We appreciate Prime Minister Abe's strong leadership on a wide range of regional and global issues, from typhoon relief in the Philippines, to the Ebola response, to the international fight against ISIL (the Islamic State group)."

Despite only around half of voters casting a ballot, the conservative Abe claimed popular endorsement for his mix of nationalism and "Abenomics" -- a signature plan to fix the country's flaccid economy that enjoyed early success but faded into a recession.

Media exit polls showed his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior partner Komeito had swept the ballot, with an unassailable two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament, giving them the power to override the upper chamber.

Earnest said "the United States looks forward to deepening our close alliance cooperation with the government and people of Japan to promote global and regional security and prosperity, and bilateral cooperation on defense guidelines revision, TPP and maritime security."

He was referring to the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement the United States is pursuing that excludes China.

Abe, 60, was only halfway through his four-year term when he called the vote last month.

The first two of his "three arrows" of Abenomics -- monetary easing and fiscal stimulus -- have largely hit their targets; the once-painfully high yen has plunged, giving exporters a boost, and stocks have rocketed.

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