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Stephen R. Reed, "Providing Clear Cues: Voter Response to the Reform Issue in the 1993 Japanese General Election," Party Politics, 3 (April 1997), 265-277.

First Paragraph:
The 1993 election brought to an end the 39-year rule of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and changed the Japanese party system from a one-party-dominant system into a fluid multi-party system. Though the system is still in flux and could return to one-party dominance, some things will never again be the same. Most clearly, the electoral system has been changed from one that rewarded candidates who cultivated the personal vote and encouraged fragmentation to one that should enhance the value of the party label and encourage aggregation into two large parties. The LDP has suffered a series of defections and the opposition has been reorganized through the merger of two new parties with two existing parties into the New Frontier Party (NFP, Shinshintou). Since the election Japan has been governed by two coalition governments, first an anti-LDP coalition consisting of all parties except the LDP and the communists, and thereafter by a three-party coalition of the LDP, the Japan Socialist Party (JSP, recently renamed the Social Democratic Party), which had been the main opposition under the previous party system, and Sakigake (New Party Harbinger), a small new party made up of defectors from the LDP.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: First cut analysis of all candidates.
Table 2: Analysis of LDP candidates.
Table 3: Analysis of all conservative candidates.

Last Paragraph:
Although Japanese voters could not make fine distinctions they proved perfectly capable of making gross ones. In the event, their capacities outweighed their incapacities: change, an alternation in power and political reform were all achieved.