The Impact of Election-System Reform upon the Japanese Party Ssytem
Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C)
|Allocation Type||Single-year Grants|
|Research Institution||OKAYAMA UNIVERSITY|
TANI Satomi Okayama University, Dept. of Law, Professor, 法学部, 教授 (40127569)
|Project Period (FY)
2001 – 2002
Completed(Fiscal Year 2002)
|Budget Amount *help
¥3,200,000 (Direct Cost : ¥3,200,000)
Fiscal Year 2002 : ¥1,200,000 (Direct Cost : ¥1,200,000)
Fiscal Year 2001 : ¥2,000,000 (Direct Cost : ¥2,000,000)
|Keywords||party system / frist past the post system / Duverger's law / new institutionalism / dominant party system / 1955 system / election system reform / proportional representation / 一党優位制 / 選挙研究 / 政党政治|
My research focused on the impact on the party competition of the election-system reform of 1994 in Japan. I made a database on district-level statistics of the last two general elections in an Excel format. Then I analyzed the data to see the competition pattern among parties, deviancy among districts, the effect of dual candidacy introduced by the reform, and so on. The following is the summary of my findings.
One of the most famous theories about the effect of election system on party politics is Duverger's Law. The law says that a first-past-the-post system produces a two-party system, and it has been a conventional wisdom. My analysis does confirm this law, but only on the district level. That is, in most districts, elections tend to be fought only by the top two candidates, keeping other weak candidates out of the real competition. The 2000 general election saw this tendency more clearly than the 1996 one. Needless to say, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won both elections, and
succeeded in keeping power with its miner partners.
Continuous victories of the LDP, however, do not mean the comeback of a dominant party system in Japan, my analysis says. Firstly, attention must be paid to the fact that the party failed to increase votes cast to it on the national level. In the proportional representation system, the LDP has remained as a middling party.
Secondly, there were many districts where competition between the top two candidates was very close. This means that any winner in such districts cannot predict his/her victory in the next election with confidence. Such competitiveness has been accelerated by the nation-wide reallocation of seats by the 1994 reform. The new election system allocates more seats to urban and metropolitan areas than the previous system that gave advantage to the LDP. This new seat-allocation makes the LDP dominance unstable.
Thirdly, we have to take the effect of PR system on a party system into account It is certain that any PR system tends to produce a multi-parly system. In Japan, some small parties can survived successive elections more easily than in a country with a simple first-past-the-post system.
My conclusion is, therefore, Japan win maintain a moderate but unstable multi-party system at least in the near future. Less
Research Products (3results)