Japan to set course for Dec 16 election and 7th PM in 6 years
TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan is set to dissolve parliament's lower house on Friday for a Dec 16 election that is likely to return the long-dominant Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to power with a conservative former prime minister at the helm.
However few expect the poll, three years after a historic victory swept the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to power for the first time, will fix a policy stalemate that has plagued the economy as it struggles with an ageing population and security challenges due to China's rapid rise.
Political experts worry former Prime Minister and head of the LDP Shinzo Abe, who polls suggest will be the next premier, will further fray ties with China, already chilled by a territorial row over a group of islands.
"They will probably have the same problems of a revolving door at the top and a weak government that finds initiating tough reforms difficult and is tempted to enjoy nationalist grandstanding," said Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University's Japan campus.