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Japan election

Abe guards his mandate, looks to economy as tax hike looms

Snap election still an option, prime minister says

Abe's LDP and junior partner Komeito secured a majority in the upper house in the July 21 election.     © Kyodo

TOKYO -- By securing a comfortable majority for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner in Sunday's upper house election, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gained a mandate to proceed with the scheduled consumption tax hike and related economic measures.

On track to become the nation's longest-serving prime minister in November, Abe will now focus on assembling a new cabinet and a fresh party leadership lineup while working out stimulus measures to prop up the economy after the October tax increase.

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