Japan's LDP-Komeito coalition retains majority of lower house seats

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Japan's ruling coalition of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito has retained a comfortable majority of the lower house seats following Sunday's general election, according to final results early Monday morning.

Led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the LDP secured 261 seats, taking a majority of the 465-seat lower house on its own, with its partner Komeito occupying 32 seats.

A majority of seats in the powerful chamber of parliament enables the ruling bloc to effectively control all standing committees and steer the legislative process.

The LDP, which previously held 276 seats on its own before the general election, lost some seats to opposition parties, reflecting that the prime minister may have failed to win strong support for his COVID-19, economic and national security policies.

Kishida, who has said he will claim victory if the ruling coalition retains a majority, said on Sunday evening that the outcome gives him "a valuable public mandate" to govern.

Regarding the LDP's loss of seats, Kishida said that he will "analyze the results and firmly accept them."

The ruling party also suffered a number of high-profile losses. According to Kyodo reports, Akira Amari, the LDP's secretary general, intends to resign from his post following his loss in his single-seat constituency in the general election.

The LDP's No. 2 conveyed his intention to resign to other party executives following media projections that he had lost in his constituency.

The general election was the first major test for Kishida since he took office on Oct. 4. The new prime minister has pledged to stimulate economic growth while redistributing more economic benefits to the middle class under his vision of "new capitalism."

Under his vision, the government plans to secure more hospital beds for COVID-19 patients as a preparation for a possible sixth wave of infections.

Kishida has also said the government will propose a stimulus package within the year to support people and businesses stricken by the pandemic.

The opposition party leaders said on Sunday that their strategy of coordinating candidates to counter the ruling bloc bore fruit in the lower house election, though the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) secured only 96 seats, falling short of the 110 seats it held before.

Five opposition parties -- the CDPJ, the Democratic Party for the People, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party and Reiwa Shinsengumi -- backed the same candidates in over 70 percent of the 289 constituency contests.

They have claimed that the government has failed its task of COVID-19 response and that the Abenomics policy upheld by the ruling LDP widened the country's wealth gap as the policy only promoted corporate earnings and share prices but failed to achieve higher wages.

The opposition parties have called for lowering the consumption tax to take off some pressure on low- and middle-class households, allow married couples to take different surnames and recognize same-sex marriage.

Voting of the country's general election finished on Sunday evening with polling stations closing nationwide at 8 p.m. local time, and ballots counting finished on early Monday morning.

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