Dec. 16 - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda heads to a polling station in his constituency just outside Tokyo, to vote in an election poised to end his party's tenure in government. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda voted on Sunday (December 16) in an election poised to end his party's tenure in government.
Media surveys suggest voters will express at the polls disappointment with Noda's Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which surged to power in 2009 promising to pay more heed to consumers than companies.
Many voters now feel the DPJ failed to meet its election pledges as it struggled to govern and cope with last year's huge earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, and then pushed through an unpopular sales tax increase with LDP help.
A defeat of the DPJ will see a return of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to power after a three-year hiatus, giving ex-prime minister Shinzo Abe a chance to push his hawkish security agenda and radical economic recipe.
An LDP win would usher in a government committed to a tough stance in a territorial row with China, a pro-nuclear energy policy despite last year's Fukushima disaster and a potentially risky prescription for hyper-easy monetary policy and big fiscal spending to beat deflation and tame a strong yen.
Abe already cast his absentee ballot earlier this week.
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