Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has claimed victory in elections saying voters believed his economic direction was the right way. Exit polling has indicated that he will win most of the 121 seats up for grabs with a slight increase in his current majority and if he is able to secure enough he could be able to change the constitution thereby relaxing military rules of engagement in place since after the second world war.
The campaign was, however, fought on Abe’s economic policies suggesting that changes to the current direction could open the country to strong headwinds given the BREXIT vote. Mr Abe is thought to want to change Article 9, the so-called pacifism clause which forbids Japan from fighting wars abroad. It was imposed by the US after Japan was on the losing side in World War Two, 70 years ago.
Some in Japan view the constraint as unfair, our correspondent says, and the rise of China has reinforced the view on the right that the clause should go.
But, in a TV interview as the votes were still being counted. Mr Abe said he was in no hurry to address the issue.
"I have two more years to my term [as LDP president] and this is a goal of the LDP, so I want to address it calmly."
The opposition has asked voters to reject any adoption of a more assertive military role.
Mr Abe also said the election result was a vote of confidence on his economic policies, although he has admitted himself that his Abenomics, aimed at ending debilitating deflation, are only "half done".
"We were given approval for our mandate to powerfully pursue Abenomics. We would like to continue with our efforts to achieve what we have promised," he said.
This was the first nationwide election since the voting age was lowered from 20 to 18.
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