The ruling coalition is expected to win 280 seats, down from its previous total of 305, weakening the dominance of the Liberal Democratic Party in the parliament.
Japan's ruling coalition is on track to retain power but lose seats in parliament, media predictions have said after polls closed in the country's general election.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition partner Komeito together were expected to win between 239 to 288 seats in the 465-member lower house, public broadcaster NHK's exit poll showed.
While TV Asahi said the coalition was expected to win 280 seats, down from its previous total of 305 — weakening the dominance of the LDP, which has held power almost continuously since the 1950s.
"If the ruling coalition is given a majority, the government is given trust. It is a big deal," Kishida said in televised comments.
The 64-year-old, who took office a month ago, said the forecasts based on exit polls showed the public has "trust" in his long-ruling LDP and its junior coalition partner Komeito.
But as the votes were counted, analysts warned that a poor showing could raise questions within the LDP over the prime minister's popularity and leadership ability.
In recent decades, votes against the LDP have been split between multiple major opposition parties, but this time five rival parties boosted cooperation in a bid to dent its stranglehold.
Exit polls were more or less in line with media predictions. Whether Kishida's party alone can maintain a majority, and how many seats it will lose from 276 before the election, was still unclear.
Official results were expected by early on Monday.