By Jennifer Amyx
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Additional info for Japanese Governance: Beyond Japan Inc. (Politics in Asia Series)
Coalitions are a product of the need for working majorities in parliamentaryCabinet systems. Parties do not normally enter them by choice, but out of necessity. 3 The three-way coalition lasted until the Lower House (House of Representatives) elections of October 1996, when the LDP just fell short of regaining its majority. The shortfall in seats saw the LDP continuing a parliamentary alliance with the Socialists and Sakigake until September 1997, by which time it had attracted a sufficient number of Lower House Diet members back into its ranks to regain a majority.
Ozawa did his best to bring into being an alternative party that would be capable of challenging the LDP. His most impressive effort in this regard was the formation of the Shinshinto (New Frontier Party), an amalgamation of several pre-existing parties that was launched in December 1994 but ignominiously collapsed a mere three years later, in December 1997. It reached the height of its popularity at the House of Councillors elections of July 1995,2 but subsequently suffered a steady trickle of defections and was beset Electoral pressures for change 17 by increasingly difficult problems of internal cohesion.
8 Parliamentary seat breakdown, 20 January 1996 [Hashimoto Ryutaro, Prime Minister] LDP Shinshinto Heiseikai SDP (JSP) Sakigake Shinryokufukai JCP Shimin Forum Shin Shakaito Niin Club Mushozoku no kai Jiyu Rengo Independent Vacancies Total seats Total gov’t seats House of Representatives House of Councillors 207 170 111 68 36 3 5 14 4 3 4 63 23 15 8 2 2 2 5 14 511 293 2 2 252 150 Source: Asahi Nenkan, 1997:175. Note: Parties in bold are government parties. 9 Parliamentary seat breakdown, 29 November 1996 [Hashimoto Ryutaro, Prime Minister] House of Representatives LDP Shinshinto Heiseikai DPJ (Minshuto) SDP (JSP) JCP 21 seiki Niin Club Sakigake Mushozoku Club Shin Shakaito Independent Total seats Total gov’t seats Total 3-party alliance seats 238 152 52 15 26 5 2 10 500 238 255 House of Councillors 111 65 (DPJ/Shinryokufukai) 14 29 14 4 3 4 3 5 252 111 143 Source: Asahi Nenkan, 1997:180.
Japanese Governance: Beyond Japan Inc. (Politics in Asia Series) by Jennifer Amyx