Exit polls suggest that the party of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has secured a large majority in the country’s parliamentary elections.
Mr Abe had called a snap poll to boost support for his economic reforms.
He was elected in 2012 and has tried to revive the economy by raising public spending and printing money.
After an initial burst of growth, Japan slipped back into recession in the second half of this year.
Despite exit polls showing Mr Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party ahead, analysts said it would probably fall short of a two-thirds majority – meaning it was likely to remain in coalition with junior partner Komeito.
Reports said turnout at polling stations was low due to voter apathy and heavy snowfall. The government said turnout was at just 35%, two hours before polls closed.