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date: 27 July 2017

Abstract and Keywords

The system used for Japan’s House of Representatives (Shugiin, or HoR) was changed in the mid-1990s from hyperpersonalistic single nontransferable voting (SNTV) to mixed-member majoritarian (MMM). The reform was expected to bring about a move toward two-party competition, party-centered campaigning, and party centralization. Evidence generally supports the theoretically expected consequences of the electoral reform. However, the electoral system change did not completely transform Japanese party politics as expected. Some of the institutions and practices considered peculiar to the old electoral system, such as personal support networks and factions, were not wiped away by the reform. Other rules in the new system initially considered minor, such as dual candidacy, can have a substantive impact on incumbency advantage and Duvergerian convergence. These suggest that Japan’s electoral reform opens the way for new comparative research on the effects of electoral systems.

Keywords: Japan, single nontransferable voting, mixed-member majoritarian, electoral reform, Duvergerian convergence

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