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Stephen R. Reed, "Party strategy or Candidate Strategy: How Does the LDP Run the Right Number of Candidates in Japan's Multi-Member Districts?" Party Politics, 15 (May 2009), 295-314.

First paragraph:
Under the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) in the multi-member district electoral system used to elect the Japanese House of Representatives from 1947 through 1993, political parties were faced with the strategic problem of matching the number of candidates to their total vote. Running too many or too few candidates risked losing a seat that could otherwise have been won. A party might, for example, be able to win three seats in a five-member district if it ran three candidates, but could only win two seats if it ran four. If it ran three candidates, they might finish third, fourth and fifth behind two candidates from other parties and, since the first through the fifth candidates were awarded seats in a five-member district, all three candidates would be elected. If the party ran four candidates, however, they might finish fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh behind three candidates from other parties, leaving the latter two candidates without seats. This phenomenon was known in Japanese as tomodaore (falling together) and avoiding tomodaore was the primary goal of nomination policy.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. The probability of jiban exit for LDP candidates
Figure 1. Simulation results
Table 2. How to gain an LDP nomination (logistic regression model)
Figure 2. Estimated probability of gaining the nomination
Table 3. How to lose an LDP nomination (logistic regression model)

Last Paragraph:
I have argued that the LDP became an arena for candidate competition because it was incapable of enforcing an effective nomination policy. Though there is no space here to go into detail, I can report that the LDP is still failing even under a new electoral system designed to produce more coherent parties. In the 2005 election, the LDP refused to nominate those members of the Diet who voted against Prime Minister Koizumi's pet project, postal privatization. However, all of those who ran as independents and won have been allowed to rejoin the LDP. The legacy of the 'if you win, you are LDP' rule that I have described in this article continues to dominate LDP nomination policy.

Last updated April 2009