JAPAN
Parliamentary Chamber: Shugiin

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1990

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Chamber:
  Shugiin


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  18 February 1990


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the House of Representatives following premature dissolution of this body on 24 January 1990. General Representatives elections had previously taken place in July 1986.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Subsequent to the previous (July 1986) general Representatives elections, and especially since mid-1988, the ruling Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) had suffered a loss of prestige as the result of internal turmoil, various scandals involving top party officials and the imposition of a highly unpopular national sales tax. Public opinion polls published in January 1990 gave the Government of Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu an approval rating under 40%. The premature 1990 election was thus widely expected to be a showdown between the LDP and the Japan Socialist Party (JSP), which had scored big gains in polling for the Diet’s Upper House (Councillors) in July 1989, thereby winning control for the opposition there.

Altogether 953 candidates contested 512 Representatives’ seats. The 15-day campaign commenced with a televised debate among the main party leaders. Debate focused on economic issues – especially the consumption tax, external trade and protection for farmers – and the worth of socialism or communism in the contemporary world, but also to a significant degree on local questions. The opposition parties were hurt by a lack of cohesion and a common platform.

On polling day, LDP made a surprisingly strong showing, retaining a comfortable House majority, especially with allied right-wing independents. JSP, led by Mrs. Takako Doi, recorded major gains to arrive at 136 seats, but a number of its triumphs came at the expense of other, smaller opposition parties rather than the LDP. Observers attributed this outcome to the electorate’s overriding wish for continued political stability. On the basis of the voting results, a new 21-member Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Kaifu was sworn in on 28 February 1990. The LDP has been in power since 1955.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (18 February 1990): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 90,322,908
Voters 66,215,906 (73.3%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 511,595
Valid votes 65,704,311

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) 338 30,315,417 46.14
Socialist Party of Japan (JSP) 149 16,025,473 24.35
Komeito (Clean Government Party) 58 5,242,675 7.98
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 131 5,226,987 7.96
Japan Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) 44 3,178,949 4.84
United Socialist Democratic Party 6 566,957 0.86
Progressive Party 7 281,793 0.43
Other parties 64 58,536 0.09
Independents 156 4,807,524 7.32

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) 275 -25
Socialist Party of Japan (JSP) 136 +51
Komeito (Clean Government Party) 45 -9
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 16 -10
Japan Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) 14 -12
United Socialist Democratic Party 4 =
Progressive Party 1 +1
Other parties 0 -6
Independents 21 +12

Comments:
  Plus 17 vacancies.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 500
Women: 12

Distribution of seats according to age:  
30-34 years 5
35-39 years 21
40-44 years 49
45-49 years 74
50-54 years 75
55-59 years 86
60-64 years 109
65-69 years 54
70 years and over 39


Distribution of seats according to profession:

 
Executives and staff members of associations or organizations 169
Officers and Secretariat members of political parties 153
Members of executive boards of corporations, etc. 69
Lawyers 32
Agriculture, forestry 16
Ministers and Parliamentary Vice-Ministers, etc. 13
Education 9
Doctors 6
Secretaries to Diet Members 5
Writers 5
Others 10
No profession 25


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Copyright 1990 Inter-Parliamentary Union