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Japan's Ruling Party Suffers Major Defeat

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is facing growing calls to quit a day after his ruling coalition suffered a major defeat in elections for the upper house of parliament.

Newspaper editorials Monday say Mr. Abe should consider Sunday's election a vote of no confidence. The prime minister says he has no plans to step down.

Preliminary official results show Mr. Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner , the New Komeito, with 103 seats - a loss of 30 seats - far short of the 122 needed to control the upper house. Half of the upper house's 242 seats were contested.

Final results, which have yet to be announced, are expected to show the main opposition Democratic Party made large gains.

Since taking office last September, Mr. Abe has been sharply criticized for his government's mishandling of pension records, and for a series of corruption scandals involving Cabinet members.

Mr. Abe's Liberal Democratic Party controls Japan's lower house of parliament, which chooses the prime minister. A defeat in the upper house will make it harder to pass legislation and could pressure LDP members to choose a new leader.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.