Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso conceded defeat in elections as media exit polls indicated the Opposition had won by a landslide,sending the conservatives out of power after 54 years of nearly unbroken rule amid widespread economic anxiety and desire for change.
“These results are very severe,” Aso said in a news conference at party headquarters,conceding his party was headed for a big loss. “There has been a deep dissatisfaction with our party.”
Aso said he would have to accept responsibility for the results,suggesting that he would resign as party president. Other LDP leaders also said they would step down,though official results were not to be released until early morning.
The left-of-centre Democratic Party of Japan was set to win 300 or more of the 480 seats in the lower house of Parliament,ousting the Liberal Democrats,who have governed Japan for all but 11 months since 1955,according to exit polls by all major Japanese TV networks.
The loss by the Liberal Democrats – traditionally a pro-business,conservative party – would open the way for the Democratic Party,headed by Yukio Hatoyama,to replace Aso and establish a new Cabinet,possibly within the next few weeks.