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date: 11 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes and analyzes the electoral systems used to elect members of the Japanese Diet since 1947. The more powerful lower house has used two different electoral systems, and the upper house has used three. The chapter focuses on each system’s effects on the quality of democracy, particularly malapportionment and alternation in power. Electoral systems powerfully influence the quality of democracy. Many of those effects can be predicted by political science theory, but others cannot. The chapter shows that the effects of the first electoral system have long-lasting effects. The institutions and practices developed as the party system develops are not easily changed by later political reforms.

Keywords: electoral systems, Japanese politics, party systems, Duverger’s Law, political reform, quality of democracy, alternation in power, malapportionment, clientelism

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