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Japan's Abe re-elected prime minister after big election win

Japan's Abe re-elected prime minister after big election win
November 1, 2017

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Shinzo Abe was re-elected prime minister on Wednesday after his ruling bloc’s big election win last month and days before a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump that is expected to be dominated by concerns over a volatile North Korea.

“We have consistently supported President Trump’s stance that all options are on the table. When President Trump visits here, we will fully take time to analyse the most up-to-date situation in North Korea and consult on response in detail,” Abe told a news conference.

“I’d like to reaffirm our closer cooperation in order to resolve early the issues of nuclear, missiles and abductees.”

Abe, 63, took office in December 2012, promising to reboot the stale economy and bolster defence.

His Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition retained its two-thirds “super majority” in parliament’s lower house in the Oct. 22 election, reenergising his push to revise the post-war, pacifist constitution.

Abe reiterated that he had no preset timing in mind for revising the constitution but that he must step up efforts to gain broad support in parliament as well as among the public.

Abe reappointed current cabinet ministers. He said he would tell them to compile an extra budget for the year to March 31, 2018, and to craft a new policy package worth 2 trillion yen (13.18 billion pounds) in December with focus on child care and boosting productivity.

Abe vowed to ensure an end to deflation by accelerating the trend of wage growth.

In a telephone conversation on Monday, Abe and Trump agreed to work together on steps to counter Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development.

Trump told Abe “he is looking forward to his visit to Japan, that Japan and America are 100 percent together and there is no room to doubt the Japan-U.S. alliance,” Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters. The two leaders have developed a close personal relationship since Trump was elected, and plan to play golf together during Trump’s Nov. 5-7 visit to Japan.