Japan may have woken up yesterday to the same prime minister committed to the same policies, but the country's parliament has undergone some huge changes as a result of Junichiro Koizumi's landslide election victory on Sunday. The lower house of the Diet is younger and has more women politicians than ever before, and political analysts say that the new demographics have real significance. 'These are definitely not cosmetic changes,' said Steven Reed, a professor of politics and elections at Chuo University. 'If you look at the women, they're not the 'office flower' decorative types; they have good records, have run impressive campaigns and are unlikely to get pushed around. 'In fact, if I were a male member of the Diet right now, I'd make sure I was very careful.' Forty-three women were elected on Sunday, up from 34 who were returned in the previous election in November 2003 to the 480-seat house. And while women still represents a paltry 9 per cent of all those elected, it is clear that parties are getting wise to the edge that women can offer. 'Swing voters want change and old men simply don't look like they are going to bring about change,' said Professor Reed. 'It's simplistic, but many people still make a decision on who they are going to vote for based on election posters and the parties learned in the 2003 election that when they put forward female candidates, they did impressively well. 'Women don't vote for men who have done things that upset women,' he added, pointing to the example of Seiichi Ota, a Liberal Democratic Party politician who lost his seat in 2003 after joking that a group of rugby players who had gang raped a female student were merely 'virile'. And while the number of women in the Diet was rising, the average age of all those returned has declined. The average age now stands at 52.3 years old, down significantly from 55.2 in the previous chamber. 'The LDP found itself getting clobbered in urban areas when it put up older, male candidates in 2003, so bringing younger people in has worked like a charm for them this time,' Professor Reed said. 'In some constituencies, guys in their early 40s were looking around and finding themselves the oldest candidate - and not getting elected.'