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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Abe Vows to Remain After Loss

TOKYO -- A defiant Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe clung to his job Monday, despite a humiliating election defeat that threw the future of his feeble government into doubt.

Abe raised the specter of a "political vacuum" as he dismissed mounting public pressure to step down for losing the majority in the parliament's upper house Sunday. Instead, he vowed to reshuffle his Cabinet and push reforms.

"I cannot walk away even though the situation is extremely difficult. I decided [to stay] because we cannot afford to create a political vacuum," Abe said at an afternoon news conference focusing on damage control.

"My responsibility is to fulfill the duty to fully achieve economic recovery," he said.

Abe also shot down suggestions that he should call snap elections in the parliament's lower house -- where his coalition still maintains a tight grip -- to re-establish his political mandate. Any upheaval in that chamber could put a new prime minister in office.

Public outrage over millions of missing pension records and a series of political scandals stripped Abe's Liberal Democratic Party of its majority in the parliament's 242-seat upper house, while handing the opposition huge gains.

The party has ruled almost continuously since 1955 and remains in control of the lower house, which chooses the prime minister. But Sunday's defeat could usher in an era of political instability and policymaking gridlock.