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.