Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's ruling coalition is on track to stay in power after Sunday’s election, according to exit polls.
His Liberal Democrat Party suffered steep losses though, potentially weakening him just weeks into the job of leading the world's no.3 economy.
Opinion polls showed the LDP is on the brink of losing its sole majority in the lower house of parliament for the first time since 2009.
The coalition with junior partner Komeito was projected to win 239 to 288 seats - that's more than the 233 needed for a majority, public broadcaster NHK said.
The vote was a test for Kishida, who called the election soon after taking the top post early this month.
His LDP has been in government except for brief spells since its formation in 1955, and has been battered by its perceived mishandling of the global health crisis.
While Kishida has secured a big boost in military spending and taking a harder line on China, he has struggled to shake off an image that he lacks charisma, and also failed to excite voters with policies to help poorer people.