TOKYO, Dec 16: Japan´s conservative Liberal Democratic Party look to have secured a convincing majority in Sunday´s general election, broadcasters said.
NHK, citing forecasts based on its own exit polls, said hawkish Shinzo Abe´s LDP was likely to win 275 to 310 seats in the 480-seat lower house against 55 to 77 seats to be secured by Yoshihiko Noda´s Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).
New Komeito, LDP´s coalition partner, is likely to win 27 to 35 seats, NHK said.
That could give the pair a more than two-thirds majority in the powerful lower house, enough to override the upper house, in which no party has overall control.
"The LDP sweeps to victory; Abe administration to start," the online edition of the Nikkei newspaper said in a banner headline.
All main broadcasters were in agreement that the LDP would return to power, three years after it was booted out by voters fed up with their more than half-century of almost unbroken rule.
Japan´s main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President Shinzo Abe speaks during a campaign rally for the Dec. 16 parliamentary elections in Kawaguchi, near Tokyo, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. The LDP ruled Japan almost continuously since 1955 until it lost badly to the DPJ in 2009. If the LDP wins on Sunday, it would give the nationalistic Abe, who was prime minister from 2006-2007, the top job again. His hawkish views raise questions about how that might affect ties with rival China amid a territorial dispute over a cluster of tiny islands claimed by both countries. (Photo: AP)
Nationalist former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, whose bid to buy disputed islands provoked a fierce diplomatic showdown with China, was also headed to parliament, NHK said.
Ishihara, who heads the populist Japan Restoration Party, appeared to have secured one of 180 seats up for grabs in the proportional representation section.
Parliament will be called to session as early as December 26th to name Abe as the new prime minister, the Nikkei newspaper said.
"Mr Abe is expected to form his cabinet on the same day," the Nikkei said.
"He will issue his plan to draft an extra budget by the year-end as well as a broad direction for the next fiscal year´s budget before closing the extraordinary Diet session on December 28," the Nikkei said
In an evening that looked set to be a fairly miserable one for Noda, TV Asahi reported at least two of his ministers would lose their seats.
Internal Affairs Minister Shinji Tarutoko and Education Minister Makiko Tanaka appeared to have lost their constituency seats. It is possible that they may win through on the proportional representation part of the ballot.
Noda´s own fate as leader of the much-diminished DPJ also looked in doubt, reports said, despite his apparently having retained his seat.
Kohei Otsuka, a senior party official told NHK: "In general, (Noda) can´t help but take responsibility for (the defeat). But he will consider how to take his responsibility."