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