Japan lower house dissolved for Dec 16 election

TOKYO Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:59am EST

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TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japanese parliament's lower house was dissolved for a December 16 election on Friday that opinion polls suggest will return the long-dominant Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to power with a conservative former prime minister at the helm.

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.

Few expect the election, three years after a historic victory swept the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to power for the first time, to resolve a policy stalemate that has plagued the economy as it struggles with an ageing population and security challenges due to China's rapid rise.

(Writing by Linda Sieg; Editing by Michael Watson)

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