Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has secured a landslide victory in the general election, according to results published by the media.
The win gives the LDP a clear majority in government for the first time in 15 years. The BBC's correspondent in Tokyo says Mr Koizumi's gamble has "paid off handsomely".
Prime minister Junichiro Koizumi called the snap election as a referendum on his controversial plans to privatise Japan's postal system.
Did you vote? Will the result pave the way for more dramatic reforms? Is Japan in need of such changes?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of views received:
At age 33, this was my first vote as I've lived abroad since 18. I proudly and excitedly travelled two hours to make my absentee ballot. However, it turned out to be the biggest disappointment, a flashback of last November. Yet another missed opportunity for true reform and democracy. One lesson I learned: the public tends to fall for one-phrase politics regardless of its cultural background.
Yoe, Stanford, CA
The LDP's landslide victory was mainly due to the vote of "freelance" voters. Those voters chose the LDP, based only expectation of reform. If this expectation is not met, this victory will be the beginning of the end for the five decades of LDP rule.
Toshiki Tanaka, Kyoto, Japan
The post office here runs like clockwork and generates $200 million annually. Messing with it is a mistake. Will I vote? Someone living in Japan over ten years like myself should be allowed to but that's simply not the case.
Martin Smart, Osaka, Japan
I think the postal reform is a good idea. It takes private funds and keeps them private instead of feeding them to the beast that is the construction ministry. It will help trim the fat out of the national spending in Japan by keeping private funds private.
Ryan, Soshigaya, Japan
I voted for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) because we need the privatisation of our postal services to accelerate the process of structural reform once we recover from banks' bad debts, and this is what only Koizumi and his government can do.
Jun Komoda, Tokyo, Japan
Koizumi is the strongest reformer. The other parties' leaders are only making loud voices without their actual plans.
Kiyoteru Adachi, Fukuchiyamashi, Japan
Election is war, he is simply good at strategies. Look at other stupid politicians with sleepy heads. I don't know what a good politician is like but I know that they are fools who do not know how to fight the election. Koizumi aside, who makes you feel secure to vote for? I am not a Koizumi supporter, but he looks least foolish compared to all the other Lower House members.
Shuji K, Tokyo, Japan
I fully support his policy of the postal reform. It will give Japan a change in the political system as Koizumi said. However, I cannot agree with his foreign policy. He has been sending troops to Iraq and always follows the American government. Also, he has made the relationship between Japan and China worse. These are big problems. Moreover, I think that this election result will lead him to try to amend the ninth article of the Japanese Constitution, which forbids the Japanese to use force. I really worry about it.
Michiko Suzuki, Tokyo, Japan
Mr Koizumi's reforms are a disgrace. I believe in an intricate mix of both private and public enterprise. The privatisation of the postal service is simply another episode in which Japan must agree with US demands. Many believe that Koizumi will change policies, both domestic and foreign. However, I don't believe this will be the case, I see it as "another year of Koizumi's tyranny". Plus, not to mention that he is a threat to peace in the entire Asian area with his devotion to the United States rather than other Asian countries geographically near them.
John Wan, Beijing, China
Without his re-election, we may lose the chance to realise dramatic postal reform, but his firm grip over Japanese political world might pave the road to a nuclear armed nation with considerable military power abandoning the pacifist Constitution. I am concerned more about his diplomatic policy.
Sachi Kato, Tokyo, Japan
I am quite surprised with result of voting rate. Many Japanese did not show the interest towards election. I am very positive about Koizumi's victory, even though I don't totally agree with his policy. I definitely give him a credit that he is trying to change the Japanese political system.
Kazuyo Kuroki, London, UK
Junichiro Koizumi is finally breaking away from the traditional politics in Japan and trying to move the country forward in huge steps. If he wins I think he will bring in more drastic changes which are needed to ensure Japan remains and grows as a key economic power in the world.
Aaron Day, UK, Essex
I think Mr Koizumi has made big changes so far. We feel more alive and more competitive. The gap between winner and loser is growing in our society. But I think we need that change to sustain the economy. I voted for LDP.
Akyuna, Osaka, Japan
The main actors and actresses of the election were the silent majority of the country, including me. Each person considered carefully the future of the country according to the manifests of the Parties. As a result, Japanese people chose the small government, the amendment of the constitution and friendly relations with Western countries not Red China and South Korea. In other words Japanese people would choose the policy easily comprehensive, mid and long term profit based on the present industrial core-competence of the nation.
Ken Andrew, Tokyo, Japan
I stayed up the entire night, only to get more and more depressed as the LDP seats increased every minute. The darkest moment for Japan has just set in with a "big" win for Koizumi. I'm a foreigner and whoever wins actually means little to nothing to me. But as an employee (government organisation) here, I'm feeling very insecure with my pensions and health insurance. Our insurance payment has been raised for the last three years but our refunds will continue to be reduced. Every Japanese worker should be worried too. I really doubt he is going to make any significant change to the economy, as the LDP is still split into several factions (Mori, Hashimoto, etc). If the postal service were really privatised, jobs would definitely be lost, and many rural areas would lose a valuable service. We might not get our letters on time anymore.
Eng Seng, Tokyo, Japan
Reform of the post office is already too late. Money does not remain in the post office for governmental waste of money. I only hope that LDP will not want to use the majority seats for bad thing.
Taka, Hamamatsu, Japan
It looks like a majority of voters (and the Japanese media) have danced to the sweet tune of PM Koizumi. During this election, the only thing Mr Koizumi (LDP) mentioned was the privatization of the post office, as if it would be the miracle cure to all ills. Forget about reform. The LDP is back in full power with a dangerous dictator as their leader (he managed to get rid of any rivals). Japan is in a mess right now, and I understand that people desire a strong leader. However, I fear that this "barking strong leader" will make things worse. Few bad things I predict are rise in taxes, cut in benefits, and worsening of diplomatic ties with China.
Yutaka Osada, Tokyo, Japan
Koizumi San's victory is good news indeed. No matter what people may say, his presence at the head of the government has a comforting effect on the citizens of this country. The last few years that Mr Koizumi has been in power, he has not been able to do a lot if things simply because his strength in the Parliament wasn't enough to push forward the controversial reforms. Now that he has the people's mandate, everyone will have much higher expectations from him and those of us who live in Japan would like to see his reforms move forward more quickly and bring about a broader change in Japan's society and economy.
Aniruddha, Tokyo, Japan
As usual, no party explained their detailed plan for the problems such as a pension scheme. Japanese people including media did not ask politicians. This is why PM Koizumi's simple strategy worked very well. It seems very easy for the Prime Minister to manipulate people in Japan. We need to ask more to the politicians. Otherwise, Japanese politics will not develop. However, this PM is the one who can develop the relationship with the US, which is one of the most important national interest for Japan.
F Nakamura, Japan
It's a strange thing that reformist Koizumi leads the conservative LDP. The political agenda in Japan seems to be decreed through internal competition within the LDP; it's time for that country to witness discussions between parties, not between LDP factions. Opposition parties need to seize power in order for the LDP to reform itself. Postal privatisation is not the only political agenda. But what are the other main points of focus?
Reginald Koizumi, Amsterdam, Netherlands
It is clear that the Japanese postal privatisation agenda corresponds to a United States request to the Japanese government. Mr. Koizumi and LDP's leaders never refer to this fact but it is doubtful that the Japanese Government is promoting postal privatization only for domestic necessities. It's also down to political pressure from the US
Katsumi Yokoyama, Tokyo Japan
At last, someone has the chance to actually break the deadlock. Now that Koizumi has real power with a majority in parliament, the rebels in his own party ousted, and no need for a coalition, he has a chance to actually change Japan. I hope it works, because it is desperately needed. I feel sorry for the Japanese electorate in some ways though, as it is all about choice. It seems people are voting for Koizumi not because he is the best of the best, but the alternatives are worse!
CJL, Tokyo, Japan
This is a tragedy. It has ended in a big victory for hegemonic vested interests. It is the end of democracy in terms of diversity and benefits for the weak. It is ironic that the weak and dispossessed tend to support Koizumi and LDP's "reform" policy that has disadvantaged and would hurt this majority further. In terms of politics, Japan is a less developed country.
Shuji, Kyoto, Japan
Koizumi is an election genius. He was strategic when he concentrated on postal services and nothing else while the real issues were pensions, education and other welfare issues. On the other hand, Okada, the opposition leader, fought rather diligently (too honest!) with Manifest. Japanese people chose flamboyant Koizumi instead and another chance for true reform is gone.
Mama Liu, Tokyo
Not a lot. Having studied Japanese politics, in depth, I can tell you there's only one viable political party in Japan! There are other parties, like the DPJ, but these don't pose a serious threat to the Liberal Democratic Party's stranglehold on power. The LDP is neither liberal nor democratic!! Don't expect a lot to change, about Japan, as a result of this election.
P. Bolton, US
Junichiro Koizumi, after years of political manoeuvring is emerging as Japan's Margaret Thatcher. This could usher in a new decade of global prosperity as Japan's economy is made more energetic. Consider the possibilities.
Andrew Walden, Hilo, Hawaii, USA
I voted for Liberal Democratic Party. The reason is that policies of other parties, such as Democratic Party of Japan(DPJ) ,are not so impressive. In addition, US-Japan relations will become worse if the DPJ takes power. The DPJ insists that Japanese troops in Iraq should pull out by December 2005. In order to deter North Korea and Chinese military threat, it is essential for Japan to fortify the US-Japan alliance.
Junro Kato, Tokyo, Japan
I do not think he will make as big a dramatic change as he claims. Japan would be at stake if he focused on only economic reform. I do not like his foreign policy either, particularly on the Iraq war. However, he is too charming to ignore. I will vote for him anyway.
Maki, Kobe, Japan
I really hope Koizumi will win more seats on Sunday. Japan is a global and democratic economic power, capable of changing and re-inventing itself. That is what a Koizumi victory would signal.
Mikio Kumada, Feldkirch, Austria
Having governed the country for almost 50 years, it is hard to believe that the LDP is truly committed to reform. In the end, if the voters of Japan truly want reform, they should cast their vote for change and elect the DPJ.
Tyler Dennis , Pelham, Ontario, Canada
I believe that the postal reform Koizumi tries strongly to push forward will cause dynamic change in Japan's economy. There are many elements which characterise the Japan's election this time such as colourful candidates (politically non-experienced) for Koizumi's reform agenda standing against former LDP members and a weak message from Opposition parties, along with few options given to voters. As a result of the election, we may perhaps be able to see something revolutionary after the decade long LDP's rule in Japan.
Jun Morikawa, Reykjavik, Iceland
I will vote for the Social Democratic Party because I am for radical change in our political and social system. With the right-wing parties Japan has seen a dramatic gap develop between the richer and the poorer. I think the SDP is the only viable party in this election and the only that can bring change.
Kenzo Tachibana, Tokyo, Japan
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is the best person to lead Japan to become a better country for the Japanese people and respect from all countries in the world. Japan must have a fearless and bold leader like him.
Rory, Penang, Malaysia
I'll support Prime Minister Junichro's "Reform" Plan. Although some policies had gone wrong, no-one else could break the old Japanese political system and plan to break up Japan's vast postal system.
Kazu Tsuchiya, Tokyo, Japan
Privatisation, and thus the reform in Japan's postal service, is a good thing. Once the government has one less issue to worry over, the smaller and more efficient the government will become. The more civil freedoms the government allows the people the more and more the government doesn't need its burgeoning bureaucracy.
Japanese politics are the most boring in the world. I expect any ambitious reforms to be watered-down to the point of useless.
Kevin Baca, California, USA
An unfortunate opportunity for Japan to slide backward in to a society based on Western values.
Nigel Darwent, Trinidad and Tobago
I have lived in Japan for more than 40 years. I feel Prime Minister Koizumi's reform attempts have been deliberately thwarted by "old guard" politicians who prefer to operate behind closed doors. I feel therefore that it important for Japan that Koizumi be re-elected so that he can accelerate his reform programme and drag Japan into the 21st century.
Paul Meddle, Kobe, Japan
I do not think that he will make such a dramatic change as he said. Japan would be at stake if he focused on only economic reform. I do not like his foreign policy either, particularly on the Iraq war. However, he is too charming to ignore. I will vote for him anyway.
Maki, Kobe, Japan
Koizumi has played his cards brilliantly, single-handedly battling the majority of the LDP leaders who never were interested in reform. They used Koizumi's personal appeal to win the last election and thought they could squash him and his reform ideas in due time but Koizumi's call for an election was his ace in the hole. And he played it well. This guy has more political acumen than Karl Rove and a conscience as well.
Bob, Sapporo, Japan