16 Dec 2012

General election in Japan

1:42 pm on 16 December 2012

Voters are casting their ballots in Japan on Sunday in a general election that is likely to return the previous government to power.

The Liberal Democratic Party led by former prime minister Shinzo Abe appears poised to oust the Democratic Party after only three years in office.

Mr Abe told voters outside Tokyo he would restore economic growth and restore pride in the country.

The BBC reports he has also promised a more assertive foreign policy at a time when tensions with China are running high over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The DJP party of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is predicted to be heading for defeat.

The LDP was swept from office by the DPJ in 2009, ending more than 50 years of almost unbroken rule.

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

It has also seen several leadership changes - Mr Noda is the third DPJ prime minister since 2009.

Mr Abe served as prime minister from 2006-2007 before stepping aside, citing illness.