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In his policy speech in the Diet on Monday, the first day of the extraordinary Diet session following his Liberal Democratic Party’s devastating defeat in the July 29 Upper House election, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe toned down rhetoric on his conservative political agenda and touched more on issues closely related to people’s lives. He mentioned such issues as the economic gap between urban and rural regions, the pension fiasco, and farmers’ uneasiness toward the future — issues that swung the voters toward the opposition Democratic Party of Japan in the Upper House election.

He also mentioned such issues as food safety, the doctor shortage, anti-disaster measures and nuclear power plant safety during earthquakes. The fate of Mr. Abe’s administration will greatly depend on how it develops concrete measures to address issues related to people’s lives, apart from the controversial issue of whether to extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s antiterrorism support mission in the Indian Ocean.

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