Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's gamble paid off as his ruling bloc secured two-thirds of majority in the Lower House in the snap election. Following the results, Abe promised to "deal firmly" with North Korea amid the rising tensions in the region.
Abe had called for snap polls after the government faced multiple crises, including threats from North Korea and domestic economy. On the polls held on Sunday, 22 October, 465 seats were up for grabs, with Abe setting to target 233 seats to win a simple majority.
Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, won at least 310 seats – a supermajority – in the assembly, gaining a further mandate for the next five years. This will allow Abe to amend the pacifist constitution. A poor voter turnout and fractured opposition forces only helped in Abe's favour.
As the election results were being announced, Abe told the Tokyo Broadcasting System in an interview that he would seek cooperation with other political parties for the constitutional amendment. Abe will also become the longest-serving leader since the World War II if he completes a five-year term.
"The matter should be debated in the Diet, and at the same time I expect discussions to deepen among the public," Abe said about the revision of the constitution.
"As I promised in the election, my imminent task is to firmly deal with North Korea.... For that, strong diplomacy is required," said Abe, who is clearly benefited from the increasing rhetoric from North Korea. Abe had faced allegations of cronyism months before the election and his popularity ratings nosedived during that phase.
However, on the election day, the LDP-led bloc was the clear favourite and exit polls predicted a resounding victory for the alliance. Abe said the Japanese voters have reaffirmed their support for his policies and added he would accept the outcome with humility and not become complacent.