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One of the world's leading democracies - Japan -- took an historic step with parliamentary elections that brought a major change of government. The Democratic Party of Japan clearly won a substantial majority of seats in the Japanese parliament's lower house. The leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama, is expected to be formally elected Prime Minister by the new parliament in mid-September. This will mean a transfer of power from Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, which has led the country for most the past 54 years.

"As a close friend and ally, the United States awaits the formation of a new Japanese government," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a prepared statement. "We are confident that the strong U.S.-Japan Alliance and the close partnership between our two countries will continue to flourish under the leadership of the next government in Tokyo. President Obama looks forward to working close with the new Japanese Prime Minister on a broad range of global, regional and bilateral issues."

U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said that "the U.S.-Japan partnership is key to pursuing peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and in promoting shared values around the world. We will work closely with the new Japanese government in moving toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, addressing the threat of climate change and increasing the availability of renewable energy, bringing stability to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and addressing international humanitarian and health issues."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton noted that the United States considers its alliance with Japan a cornerstone of peace and security in East Asia. "The challenges we face are many," said U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos, "but through our partnership our two great democracies will meet them in a spirit of cooperation and friendship."

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