Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition was on track for a sweeping election win with the premier claiming a mandate to continue with his economic policies.
The coalition of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and junior partner Komeito won a two-thirds majority in the lower house, according to NHK projections based on actual votes cast. The bloc won 325 of 475 seats with two still undeclared, matching the number before the election. Turnout fell to a record low on a combination of voter apathy and heavy snow in parts of the country.
The 60-year-old premier called the early election to seek a new mandate for his economic policies to end deflation after the world’s third-biggest economy slipped into recession. A convincing win would also make it easier for Abe to push ahead with unpopular plans such as restarting nuclear reactors and strengthening the nation’s military, which a majority of Japanese oppose.