New Japanese Prime Minster Fumio Kishida celebrated his ruling Liberal Democratic Party's surprising margin of victory in Sunday parliamentary elections. The LDP lost a handful of seats — it claimed 261 of the lower house's 465 seats, from 276 previously — but will retain its absolute majority, allowing Kishida to more easily enact his agenda. Initial exit polls suggested the LDP would need the support of its more dovish junior coalition partner, Komeita, which increased its seats to 32, from 29.
"We won a majority, which I think in this election was significant," Kishida told reporters. "I want to make full use of this both in running the government and running parliament." His priorities include boosting spending to help the country rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the LDP lawmakers who lost their seats was Akira Amari, the party's secretary general, or No. 2 position. "The frustration and worries of the people that had built up during the pandemic are now being shown in the election," he said in a TV interview Sunday night. Kishida's predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, stepped down after a year amid widespread criticism of his COVID-19 response.