Aso predicts stable gov't if LDP wins upper house election

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be able to build a stable government if the Liberal Democratic Party wins the House of Councillors election next month as he is unlikely to face any opposition from within the ruling party, Finance Minister Taro Aso predicted Friday.

If the LDP wins the July 21 election for the upper house, where the ruling bloc currently lacks a majority, "Abe's government will be stable," Aso said in a speech in Tokyo.

Many leaders have been forced to resign over a short period of time due to strife within the LDP, but now there are no lawmakers in the ruling coalition trying to topple Abe, said Aso, who was also prime minister for a year from September 2008.

Aso said he himself might be the most likely rival of Abe, Japan's sixth premier in five years, for the post of party leader, but added, "We are moving in the same direction in regard to economic revitalization, so we can't kill each other."

But he indicated that he is not eager to regain the premiership, saying "It's enough to have done it once."

Aso stressed that he and Abe are both working to push ahead with the government's economic policies dubbed "Abenomics."

In Sunday's Tokyo metropolitan assembly election, the LDP and its coalition partner the New Komeito party secured an overall majority in the 127-seat assembly, with all 82 candidates fielded by the parties winning.