The Liberal Democratic Party, which ruled Japan almost without interruption from 1955-2009, swept back into power with a landslide in weekend general elections.

LDP stalwart Shinzo Abe, who was premier in 2006-2007, will be returning as prime minister - Japan's seventh in less than seven years - after his party routed the governing Democratic Party in Sunday's balloting.

The DP lost more than 200 seats in the legislature and outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda immediately resigned as party leader.

But even Abe acknowledged that his party's triumph reflected an attitude among voters best expressed as "better the devil you know."

"More than a victory (for the LDP), this is a 'no' to the DP for its three years and three months of government," he said. "The public will be scrutinizing us now, we have to show that we have changed."

Abe's previous tenure as premier lasted barely 12 months and though his resignation was ostensibly for reasons of health, it came against a backdrop of multiple corruption scandals involving Cabinet ministers.

Sunday's outcome gave the LDP and junior partner New Komeito a super-majority in the Diet, meaning the government could theoretically amend Japan's constitution without support from other parties.

One LDP priority, bolstering the role of Japan's Self-Defense Force amid a dispute with China over control of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, would require making changes to Article 9 of the charter.

On the economic front, the LDP promises to spur annual growth of 3 percent through increased infrastructure spending and a more aggressive monetary policy to battle chronic deflation. EFE