Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party returned to power in a landslide election victory Sunday after three years in opposition, exit polls showed, signaling a rightward shift in the government that could further heighten tensions with rival China.
The victory means that the hawkish former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will get a second chance to lead the nation after a one-year stint in 2006-2007. He would be Japan’s seventh prime minister in six-and-a-half years.
Public broadcaster NHK’s exit polls projected that the LDP, which ruled Japan for most of the post-World War II era until it was dumped in 2009, won between 275 and 300 seats in the 480-seat lower house of parliament. Official results were not expected until Monday morning. Before the election, it had 118 seats.
The dollar was expected to rise further against the Japanese currency on expectations the Bank of Japan will ease monetary policy further.
LDP leader Shinzo Abe has been pushing the BOJ for more powerful monetary stimulus.
Part of the reason for the rise in dollar/yen was higher U.S. Treasury bond yields, which makes the dollar relatively more attractive against the low-yielding Japanese currency.