It may only be the exit polls. But the LDP has come from behind in Osaka to sweep the two by-elections. This makes the prime minister look good in his first test. Komeito, the liberal wing of the LDP, will look to cash in., so pacifists rejoice.
Mr. Abe has Kim Jong-il to thank for in the same way that George W. Bush had Osama, but Mr. Abe had created his own luck by painstakingly laying down the groundwork for his electrifying trip to Beijing. Admittedly, the near-invisible Ichiro Ozawa has been more helpful than Al Gore and John Kerry put together by taking ineffectual potshots at Mr. Abe's foreign policy brief and doing little else.
But don't write off the DPJ yet. The US (housing bubble pop) and China (fixed assets investment crackdown) could still drag down the Japanese economy before next year's Upper House general election.