Japanese politics until 1994 has always been characterised by a single party dominance; this party is the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The LDP ruled the country for more than three decades, it in fact stayed in power from 1955 to 1994. With the defeat of LDP in 1994 and the creation of a new electoral reform the stale Japanese political situation, characterised by a confused voting system and by a weak central body was reshaped and most of its typical element's functions were changed.
This essay aims to analyse the structure of the 1994 electoral reform and the changes that occurred in the LDP structure and policy-making after this reform. The study is organised in two parts: the first is about the electoral reform itself and the political environment of the following years; on the other hand, the second part analyses the principal changes occurred after the reform respectively in the LDP internal structure and in the policy-making processes.
The 1994 electoral reform and the political situation of the 1990s
The extremely long LDP-domination period was characterised by a weakness in the central legislative body and by the lack of strong opposition parties (Inoguchi, 1997).
The July 1993 elections can be considered the most significant elections in the history of japanese elections since 1955, since its result significantly changed Japanese politics trend for the first time (Purnendra in Inoguchi, 1997).
During the post-Cold War years the socialists abandoned their opposition towards the Article IX of the Constitution regarding the Us-Japan security Treaty, losing its role of main opponent of LDP.
Japanese political situation in the 1990s was a very confused one; political parties were splitted, changed their names and new coalitions were created. One of the most important political figures of those years was surely Ozawa Ichiro, secretary general of the LDP. In 1993, in fact, he proposed a non-confidence vote against the Prime Minister Miyazawa; this action lead by Ozawa brought to the new elections of 1993. (David John Lu, “Japan, a documentary history vol. 2”).
With these elections, LDP lost its dominance and a coalition of seven parties came to power. This coalition was formed by all the opposition parties, with the exception of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), and by three new parties (Purnendra, 1993).
The modest inflow of voters (only 67%) reflected the general disillusionment of Japanese citizens toward the current political situation. On 9th August 1993 Morihiro Hosokawa, leader of New Japan Party (NJP), was elected as Prime Minister. (http://www.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/arc/2161_93.htm).
The Hosokawa coalition cabinet came with the idea of a political reform on 17 September 1993. This reform had four main purposes: firstly, the most important purpose was a change in the electoral system for the House of Representatives, with the introduction of a single-member vote system; secondly the reinforcement of the...