Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's ruling party has won three parliamentary by-elections.
Koizumi has been in office for three years
The polls are seen as the Liberal Democratic Party's first test since a hostage crisis in Iraq raised tensions over the government's foreign policy.
Mr Koizumi rejected demands earlier this month by Islamic militants holding three Japanese civilians hostage to withdraw his country's troops of Iraq.
Observers say he escaped disaster when
the hostages were released unharmed.
A recent poll in a Japanese newspaper said 74% of Japanese backed the prime minister's position over the hostage affair.
But opinions remains divided over whether Japan's troops should be in Iraq.
Critics fear that the Japanese force - set to total 1,000 troops - may get drawn into the conflict in Iraq, in contravention of Japan's constitution, which only allows Japanese troops to use self-defence.
Sunday's victories increase Mr Koizumi's majority in the lower house of parliament, with the LDP now holding 245 out of 480 seats. Mr Koizumi's coalition has a total of 279 seats.
Analysts said that the LDP benefited from a low turnout in Sunday's polls.
Mr Koizumi completes three years in the prime minister's office on Monday.