Gov't encouraged by Tokyo election victory before upper house poll

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed Monday the ruling party's landslide victory in the Tokyo metropolitan assembly election the previous day as a sign of support for his economic policies ahead of the upper house poll next month.

"We couldn't have had a better result," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference. "We are grateful for the high recognition the Abe administration has received in the run-up to the House of Councillors' election," the top government spokesman added.

The Liberal Democratic Party, headed by Abe, and its junior coalition partner, the New Komeito party, secured an overall majority in the 127-seat assembly in the capital in Sunday's election with all 82 candidates they fielded winning.

Suga said he believed the result was due largely to Abe's policies to revive the moribund economy -- dubbed "Abenomics" -- and that the ruling coalition will campaign for the July 21 upper house election by promising to end nearly two decades of deflation with the policies.

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which tumbled to fourth place from being the largest party in the Tokyo assembly, pledged continued efforts to bounce back in the upcoming election.

DPJ President Banri Kaieda and Secretary General Goshi Hosono, meeting at the party's headquarters in Tokyo, confirmed that the DPJ will fight the election without any change to the current leadership.

"It is a tough outcome, and we accept it humbly," said former DPJ chief Katsuya Okada in Tsu, Mie Prefecture.

Asked how things would turn out in the election for the upper house, which is currently controlled by the DPJ, Okada said, "People are starting to doubt that Abenomics will make everything better."

The Japan Restoration Party was another loser in the Tokyo election, dropping from three seats to two despite stirring high expectations at one point.

But Shintaro Ishihara, the party's co-leader, denied the possibility of him and another co-leader Toru Hashimoto stepping down as a result of the disappointing election result in Tokyo.

With less than a month left until the upper house vote, Ishihara said, "We can't reorganize our camp at this stage of the game.

Meanwhile, the city council of Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, passed a resolution Monday calling for the resignation of Hashimoto and Ishihara, who have been taking heat over their controversial remarks seen to indicate their acceptance of wartime military prostitution.

The council claimed that Japan will lose the trust of the international community if Hashimoto and Ishihara keep their respective posts of Osaka mayor and lower house member.