It was not the election outcome most people expected.

Entering Sunday's vote, some media projections suggested that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party would lose upward of 50 seats. Even conservative estimates placed the losses at around 30 seats. In other words, many were ready to see a big blow to the ruling party.

When the counting stopped, the LDP and its coalition partner the Komeito defied those expectations — only losing a net total of 12 seats — retaining a comfortable lead above any opposition party. So, what should we make of this outcome?