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Voters look on at a campaign event for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Playing safe, Abe targets ruling bloc majority in Japan election

To fend off critics, Japanese prime minister needs stand-alone LDP majority

| Japan

TOKYO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is intent on declaring victory if his ruling coalition holds on to a simple majority in the lower house election Oct. 22, though clearing this relatively low bar is unlikely to silence his detractors.

In theory, his Liberal Democratic Party and junior coalition partner Komeito together need a minimum 233 seats. Such a majority serves as "the finish line" in an election fought over a voter mandate, Abe said during a television appearance Tuesday.

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