Takenori Kanzaki in support of Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi

The junior partner in Japan's ruling coalition Takenori Kanzaki will stand by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and his embattled reforms in elections for Parliament's lower house next month, its party chief said Friday, adding that he expects the coalition to win a majority.

Takenori Kanzaki, head of the Buddhist-backed New Komeito, said he believes the two-party coalition "has the momentum" to win a majority in the Sept. 11 elections for the 480 seats in the powerful lower house.

Pravda.ru said earlier, that Koizumi called the elections after a set of bills he has championed to reform the postal delivery and savings system was shot down in Parliament's upper house earlier this month.

"I think turnout will be high and the battle will be tough," Kanzaki told a news conference. "We are determined to retain our 34 seats, and secure a majority for the ruling coalition."

Some Japanese media have forecast the ruling coalition will together win about 240-250 seats, which would assure them of control of the house because the other opposition parties are too splintered to vote as single bloc. Kanzaki said he believes that a victory is likely, the AP reports.

"We believe we have the momentum now to achieve a majority," he said. "But you never really know until election day."

The New Komeito has been a staunch supporter of Koizumi's efforts to reform the cash-swelled postal system, which combines mail delivery with insurance and bank-like savings operations. His plan to restructure and privatize the postal system was voted down on Aug. 8, however, after dozens of members of his own Liberal Democratic Party jumped ship.

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