Ruling party LDP seen to be gaining in Tokyo assembly election
TOKYO (AP) - Japan's ruling party was projected to make big gains in a Tokyo assembly election on Sunday that was closely watched as an indicator of how the country's major parties will fare in parliamentary polls next month.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party was likely to become the largest single bloc in the 127-seat Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, according to exit polls conducted by national broadcaster NHK. Other Japanese media made similar projections.
The ruling party, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, had 39 seats going into the election. Its coalition partner, a Buddhist-backed conservative group, was expected to secure enough seats for the two parties together to have a comfortable majority.
Mr Abe, who has focused on strengthening Japan's economy and defence policies, has a high national approval rating. Since taking office last December, his wider agenda has included revising Japan's pacifist Constitution to allow a stronger military.