Economic policies led to ruling parties' victory: Keidanren chief

The leader of Japan's biggest business lobby on Monday credited the government's economic policies, including aggressive monetary easing, for the ruling coalition's landslide victory in the weekend upper house election.

"I believe that bold monetary easing and other efforts to overcome deflation and achieve an economic recovery have drawn big support," Hiromasa Yonekura, leader of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, told reporters in Tokyo.

Yonekura welcomed the fact the House of Councillors election brought an end to the divided Diet, in which the lower house was controlled by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, the New Komeito party, and the upper house by the opposition camp.

"It has created an environment (for the government) to steadily implement necessary policies including growth strategies," Yonekura said. "The business community will make utmost efforts to expand employment and investment."

The Keidanren chief also called on the government to raise the nation's sales tax next April as planned, telling Kyodo News in an interview, "It is one of the government's responsibilities to steadily fulfill restoration of fiscal health."

He also urged the government to proceed with tax reforms including lowering the corporate tax rate.

Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association Chairman Akio Toyoda said the election results reflect voters' "strong expectations" for the Abe government's ability to carry out economic policies and called for swift implementation of tax breaks for automobile-related spending.

"It is necessary to ease the burden on Japan's vehicle users, who are overburdened with tax from a global perspective, in order to revitalize the domestic market," he said in a statement.

Makoto Yagi, head of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, called for maintaining and utilizing nuclear power generation, saying in a statement that it is important to "diversify energy sources including nuclear power in our resource-limited country."

"It is important to achieve stable (energy) supply, protection of the environment and economic efficiency simultaneously on the premise of ensuring safety," said Yagi, who is also president of Kansai Electric Power Co.

"I'd like the government to firmly position energy policies as the country's core policies and promote them without wavering in the medium to long term," he said.

Akira Banzai, president of the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, said the ruling coalition's victory made him feel "encouraged."

On talks to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he demanded the government work to exclude key farm products such as rice and wheat from items subject to tariff elimination.

"I am certain that the government will adhere to the stance of protecting the national interest," Banzai said in a statement.