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Kenneth Mori McElwain

In: The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies

Chapter 20: Parties and Elections in Japan

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Parties and Elections in Japan
Parties and Election in Japan
Kenneth Mori McElwain
Introduction

The central meme of postwar Japanese politics is the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) electoral dominance. Following its formation in 1955, the LDP held a majority in the House of Representatives for 38 consecutive years. Every prime minister came from its ranks, and through its control of the government policy apparatus, the LDP established deep formal and informal networks with other elite actors, particularly the bureaucracy and major business conglomerates. However, this ‘1955 system’ came crashing down in the watershed 1993 election, when the LDP lost its majority and was replaced by an eight-party coalition of opposition parties. The new coalition government fulfilled its popular mandate to change the electoral system, but fell apart shortly thereafter due to disagreements on most other issues. The LDP returned ...

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