Japan's Abe sets out targets for second spell as PM

December 26, 2012

Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has set out his priorities at the start of his second spell in office. Shortly after the official handover ceremony, the conservative leader of the Liberal Democrat Party promised to take bold economic steps to battle deflation and a strong yen, in order to make Japan more competitive. He also unveiled a cabinet of close allies in key posts but there were places for LDP rivals. A move designed to fend off criticism of cronyism that dogged his first administration. “I hereby form a cabinet that will tackle crises for the Japanese people. Our nation’s strength comes with a strong economy. Without strong economic revitalisation, there is no financial reform or any future for Japan,” Abe told a news conference after parliament voted him in as Japan’s seventh prime minister in six years. Abe’s long-dominant Liberal Democrat Party surged back to power in this month’s election, three years after a crushing defeat at the hands of the novice Democratic Party of Japan. During the election campaign, Abe promised to take a tough stance in territorial rows with China and South Korea. But his toughest challenges may be to come up with policies to generate growth despite an ageing, shrinking population and reform a creaking social welfare system.