1994 Electoral Reform in Japan: Background, Process, and Impact on Governance and Public Policy

  • Etsuhiro NakamuraEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31816-5_3263-1



The causes and processes of Japan’s 1994 electoral system reform and its consequences.


In Japan, four bills concerning electoral reform were passed in 1994, which finally changed the Japanese political landscape dramatically. In this section, the background of this reform, the process of the enactment of the laws, and the impact of the reform on governance and public policy will be discussed.

In the first part of the section, outline of the features of Japanese politics before the electoral reform is presented. Japan has adopted the single nontransferable vote multimember district (SNTV-MMD) system with moderate district magnitudes since 1925. SNTV-MMD, Chusenkyokuin Japanese, is the system where typically three to six seats were assigned to a district. Voters cast their vote by handwriting the name of one candidate. The candidates were ranked by the votes they got and...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Carlson MM, Reed SR (2018) Political corruption and scandals in Japan. Cornel University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  2. Curtis GL (2000) The logic of Japanese politics: leaders, institutions, and the limits of change. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Ishikawa M, Hirose S (1989) Jimintou Choki Shihai no Kouzou (The structure of the LDP long-term dominance). Iwanamishoten, Tokyo (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  4. Kamikawa R (2010) Koizumi Kaikaku no Seiji Gaku (Politics of Koizumi reform). Yuhikaku, Tokyo (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  5. Kitaoka S (2008) Jimintou Seiken Seitou no 38 Nen (38 years of LDP government). Chuoukouronshinsha, Tokyo (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  6. Krauss ES, Pekkanen RJ (2010) The rise and fall of Japan’s LDP: political party organizations as historical institutions. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  7. Krauss ES, Pekkanen R (2015) The partial Presidentialization of parties in Japan. In: Krauss PG (ed) The presidentialization of political parties: organizations, institutions and leaders. Springer, BasingstokeGoogle Scholar
  8. Maclachlan PL (2012) The people’s post office: the history and politics of the Japanese postal system, 1871–2010. Harvard University Asia Center, Harvard University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Maeda K (2008) Has the electoral system reform made Japanese elections party-centered? In: Reed SR, Shimizu K, Mcelwain K-M (eds) Political change in Japan: electoral behavior, party realignment, and the Koizumi reforms. The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  10. Ohtake H (ed) (1997) Seikai Saihen no Kenkyu (a study of realignment of Japanese political parties). Yuhikaku, Tokyo (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  11. Ramseyer JM, Rosenbluth FMC (1993) Japan’s political marketplace. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  12. Scheiner E (2005) Democracy without competition in Japan: opposition failure in a one-party dominant state. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Policy StudiesAichi Gakuin UniversityNisshinJapan