The Latest: Japan ruling bloc retains two-thirds majority

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Japan’s parliamentary election (all times local):

2:20 a.m.

Japan’s public television NHK says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition has retained a two-thirds majority in the 465-member lower house in Sunday’s election.

NHK says Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito together have won 312 seats, exceeding the benchmark for supermajority at 310.

The results, though still unofficial, boosts chances for a revision to Japan’s war-renouncing constitution, a long-cherished goal of Abe and his nationalistic supporters. Official results won’t be available until Monday.

Any change to Japan’s constitution, which has never been amended, requires approval first by two-thirds of both houses of parliament, and then in a public referendum. Abe’s ruling coalition already has the two-thirds majority in the less-powerful upper house. Polls, however, indicate that the Japanese public remains opposed to amendment.


11 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says results from national elections indicate that voters support his policies and want to see his political leadership continue.

Japanese media projected shortly after polls closed Sunday evening that Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner Komeito would win a clear majority and might even retain their two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament.

Abe dissolved the lower house less than a month ago, forcing the snap election. He had said he wanted to seek a public mandate on his pledge to defend Japan against North Korea and to deal with Japan’s ongoing aging and declining population.

Abe said Sunday night that he would not be complacent about a victory, saying many people still have doubts over cronyism scandals that briefly hurt his support ratings.

He said he hoped to gain the public’s understanding for his proposed revision to Japan’s war-renouncing constitution, though he retracted his earlier goal of achieving a revision by 2020.


10:15 p.m.

The head of Japan’s powerful business lobby has welcomed a projected election victory for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition for providing political stability that would push forward economic policies.

Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of Keidanren, said in a statement that election results reflected voters support for Abe to push forward his ongoing economic policies.

Sakakibara promised that the business community will “fully cooperate” with Abe’s government in pushing forward his economic policies and serve as a driving force for Japan’s economy.


8:40 p.m.

Media projections indicate a disappointing showing for a new Japanese opposition party that briefly excited voters.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK projected after polls closed Sunday that the Party of Hope would win 38 to 59 seats in the 465-seat lower house of parliament.

Party head Yuriko Koike called the results “very severe” in a televised interview from France. She is in Paris to attend a mayor’s conference as the governor of Tokyo.

Koike launched the Party of Hope the same week that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved parliament to force a snap election.


8 p.m.

Exit polls indicate that Japanese voters have returned Prime Minster Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition to power in national elections.

Japanese media released result projections shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Abe dissolved the lower house less than a month ago, forcing the snap election. He judged that the timing was ripe for his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, or at least better than waiting until the end of its term next year.

Up for grabs were 465 seats in the more powerful lower house, which chooses the prime minister.


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