The ruling coalition of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe snagged a majority in the Upper House in Sunday's election, further securing the leader of the world's third largest economy one of the longest runs in the nation's recent history. But, he apparently failed to secure the seats needed to change the nation's Constitution.
Japanese media reported that the Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito ruling coalition's win in the chamber solidified Abe's victory, but national news service NHK has determined that the body unlikely has the votes needed to change the nation's Constitution -- long a priority of the prime minister who wants to give Japan's Self-Defense Force more leeway to engage in conflicts.
The ruling coalition in addition to two lawmakers who are pushing to amend Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution "will likely not maintain a two-thirds majority after Sunday's Upper House election," reported NHK, noting that such a victory would be required call a referendum to amend the document.
NHK further said it is "certain" that Abe's agenda will not be able to maintain the strength it enjoyed prior to the election, which was widely viewed as a sign the Japanese want to keep moving on economic and social reforms -- including a tax hike.
Abe came to power in 2012 -- following a brief stint as prime minister about six years prior. His run in power is the longest since Junichiro Koizumi who was prime minister from 2001 to 2006.