15 Dec 2012

New govt expected in Japan

9:45 am on 15 December 2012

A new government is widely expected to be elected in Japan on Sunday.

The BBC reports the Liberal Democratic Party appears poised to oust the Democratic Party after only three years in office.

The DPJ came to power in 2009, after more than 50 years of almost unbroken rule by the LDP.

The party promised more welfare spending and a better social safety net, but struggled to deliver amid the economic downturn and the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, the third to hold the post since 2009, lost public support over a move to double the sales tax to tackle debt.

A debate over nuclear energy, restarting suspended reactors and perceived flip-flopping on the issue also affected his popularity.

Shinzo Abe, the man expected to be Japan's next leader, served as prime minister from 2006-2007 before stepping aside, citing illness.

All 480 seats in the lower house are at stake in the election.