TOKYO, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The ruling coalition in Japan won a majority of seats in lower house parliamentary elections Sunday, opening the door for continued economic reforms designed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to pull the country out of recession.
The 475-seat lower house was at stake in the elections, which were mandated by Abe last month after Japan fell back into recession following a jump in economic growth.
Exit polls Sunday showed Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, considered conservative in Japan, had gained a majority of seats and was on its way toward a two-thirds majority in the lower house alongside its partner, the Buddhist-backed Komei Party.
The lower house is the most powerful of Japan's two houses and has the final word in most legislation and selection of prime ministers.
Abe was elected prime minister in 2012 and introduced a series of economic policies dubbed "Abenomics," which included printing money to foster bond sales, increasing growth through stimulus spending and reforming structural sectors such as agriculture and energy. The policies were designed to pull Japan out of an economic slump related to several factors including the 2013 tsunami and nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
Abe said the victory in Sunday's elections affirmed public support for Abenomics, as well as the continuation of the reforms.
Participation among voters was low, however, due mainly to snow and voter indifference, the BBC reports. Two hours before polls closed, the Japanese government reported voter turnout at 35 percent.