Japan's Right Scores Election Win
Former PM Shinzo Abe likely to return to power
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 16, 2012 6:18 AM CST
In this Dec. 15, 2012 photo, Japan's Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe speaks during a rally for Sunday's parliamentary elections near Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)

(Newser) – Japanese public broadcaster NHK is projecting that the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party has won a clear majority in parliamentary elections. NHK said today that its exit polls show that the conservative LDP, which ruled Japan for most of the post-World War II era, won between 275 and 300 seats in the 480-member lower house of parliament. The win puts the LDP back in power after a three-year stint in opposition and signals a shift to the right that could heighten tensions with neighboring China.

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan won less than 100 seats, NHK projected, down sharply from its pre-election strength of 230. The win would almost certainly give the nationalistic former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who ruled for a year in 2006-2007, a second stint as Japan's leader.