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WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Sunday extended his congratulations to Shinzo Abe, a former Japanese prime minister, on his party's victory in the parliamentary elections, saying he looks forward to "working closely" with the next Japanese government.
"I congratulate Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President Shinzo Abe on his party's success in the elections in Japan today," the president said in a statement.
"The US-Japan alliance serves as the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and I look forward to working closely with the next government and the people of Japan on a range of important bilateral, regional and global issues," Obama added.
The LDP and its ally, the New Komeito Party, had altogether secured 260 seats in the 480-seat House of Representatives as the vote counting was continuing, with the LDP alone having garnered 236 seats.
Abe is expected to return to the premiership if there are no unforeseen incidents during a special session of the Diet, Japan's congress, reportedly to be held on December 26 at the earliest to select the country's new leader.
Obama reached out as well to Yoshihiko Noda, the outgoing prime minister, saying "I also extend my appreciation to Prime Minister Noda for his many contributions to US-Japan relations."