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Shugiin (House of Representatives)

A historical Archive of past election results for this chamber can be found on a separate page

Parliament name (generic / translated) Kokkai / National Diet
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Shugiin / House of Representatives
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Sangiin / House of Councillors
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 11 September 2005
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all the seats in the House of Representatives following the premature dissolution of this body on 8 August 2005. Elections to the House of Representatives had previously taken place on 9 November 2003.
After a bill to reform the postal system was defeated in the House of Councillors by 125 votes against to 108 for, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi dissolved the Lower House (House of Representatives) on 8 August 2005 and called an early election for 11 September. The defeated package aimed to privatize Japan Post, a State-owned postal service, by 2007 by dividing it into separate companies for dealing with mail delivery, banking, and insurance. The bill had narrowly been approved by the House of Representatives on 5 July 2005, although some political factions within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had opposed it in both Houses.

The elections, called only one year and nine months after the previous ones, were a source of some controversy within the LDP, while its coalition partner, the Komei Party, announced its support for Mr. Koizumi. The Prime Minister said that the elections should be seen as a referendum on the privatization of the postal system in Japan. Soon after the dissolution, the Prime Minister announced that LDP parliamentarians who had voted against the bill would be excluded from the list of candidates endorsed by the LDP for the new elections.

Following the Prime Minister's decision to dissolve parliament, two new breakaway parties were formed: Kokumin Shinto (The People's New Party) by former House of Representatives Speaker Tamisuke Watanuki, and Shinto Nippon (New Nippon Party) by Mr. Yasuo Tanaka, Governor of Nagano Prefecture. Respectively, four and three former members of the House of Representatives joined the two parties. The former LDP deputy chief cabinet secretary, Mr. Muneo Suzuki, also formed Shinto Daichi (New Daichi Party). These new parties announced that they were all against Mr. Koizumi's post privatization policy. Thirty other LDP parliamentarians who had opposed the postal reform bill ran as independent candidates.

The number of parliamentarians on an LDP ticket was reduced to 212 at the time of the official announcement of the elections on 30 August 2005. Its coalition partner, the Komei Party, held 34 seats, bringing the total number for the coalition to 246. The Prime Minister announced that he would resign if the coalition did not secure at least as many seats as in the previous House.

A total of 1,132 candidates, including 147 women, ran: 989 in single-seat constituencies; 779 from eight political parties under the proportional representation (PR) system, including 636 candidates who were registered for both single-seat constituencies and PR lists. The elections attracted wide media coverage and keen public interest both at home and overseas, and focused on whether Mr. Koizumi would continue his term of office as prime minister or whether the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) would become the ruling party.

During the election campaign, Prime Minister Koizumi concentrated on a single issue: privatization of the postal system under the slogan "Don't stop the reform". He nominated rival candidates to constituencies represented by former LDP parliamentarians who had opposed the postal reform bill. DPJ leader Okada gave top priority to parental care and pension reform, which were considered to be the main reason behind the DPJ's major breakthrough in the 2003 elections. On previous occasions and at the beginning of the election campaign, he reiterated that privatization of the postal system was not the core issue of the elections. In the middle of the campaign, however, the opposition leader began to argue that the savings and insurance branches of Japan Post should be privatized, following opinion polls that showed support for postal reform. Pre-election polls predicted victory for the LDP.

On 11 September 2005, over 67 per cent of the country's 103 million registered voters turned out for the elections, up by more than seven per cent from the last elections to the House of Representatives held on 9 November 2003.

The final results gave a resounding victory to the LDP, which won 296 of the 480 seats. The party secured a single-party majority House of Representatives for the first time since the 1990 elections. Together with the Komei Party, the ruling coalition won a total of 327 seats. The number of DPJ seats was reduced to 113, its first decrease since the party was founded in 1996. Following this defeat, Mr. Okada resigned as DPJ leader on 11 September. The JCP and the SDPJ won nine and seven seats respectively. The Kokumin Shinto (The People's New Party) held on to its four seats while Shinto Nippon (New Nipon Party) managed to win only one seat, losing two. As for the Shinto Daichi (New Daichi Party), only its leader won a seat. The remaining seats went to independent candidates.

The number of elected women reached a record high of 43: 26 for the LDP, seven for the DPJ, 4 for the Komei Party, 2 each for the SDPJ and the JCP, and 2 independents. The previous record was 39, established in 1946.

The House of Representatives convened on 21 September 2005 and re-elected Mr. Yohei Kono as Speaker. Mr. Koizumi was reappointed prime minister by both Houses of the Diet on the same day.
Voter turnout
Round no 111 September 2005
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
69'532'186 (67.46%)
Notes Number of votes cast: 69,528,426
Statistics above refer to PR system.

Statistics for Majority system
Number of registered electors: 102,985,213
Voters: 69,526,624 (67.51%)
Number of votes cast: 69 524 632
Blank or invalid ballot papers: 1,458,340
Valid votes: 68,066,292

- The number of "voters" refers to registered electors who received ballot papers at the polling station, and the number of "votes cast" refers to those who actually cast their ballots.
- An additional 82,753 Japanese registered for overseas voting before the 2005 elections.
- Under the current electoral system, Japanese nationals overseas are only allowed to vote in the proportional representation system, not in single-seat constituencies.
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes Majority cand. Double candidacy % Majority votes %
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 336 25'887'798 290 200 38.18 32518389.92 47.77
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) 295 21'036'425 289 285 31.02 24804786.74 36.44
New Komeito 43 8'987'620 9 0 13.25 981105.00 1.44
Independents 0 0 70 0 0.00 3240521.54 4.76
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 39 4'919'187 38 22 7.25 4937375.03 7.25
Social Democratic Party (SDPJ) 43 3'719'522 38 36 5.49 996007.70 1.46
Kokumin Shinto (People's New Party) 11 1'183'073 10 7 1.74 432679.00 0.64
Shinto Nippon (New Party Japan) 8 1'643'506 6 6 2.42 137172.00 0.20
Shinto Daichi (New Party Mother Earth) 3 433'938 1 0 0.64 16698.00 0.02
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total Majority PR Gain/Loss
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 296 219 77 59
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) 113 52 61 -64
New Komeito 31 8 23 -3
Independents 18 18 0 7
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 9 0 9 0
Social Democratic Party (SDPJ) 7 1 6 1
Kokumin Shinto (People's New Party) 4 2 2 0
Shinto Nippon (New Party Japan) 1 0 1 -2
Shinto Daichi (New Party Mother Earth) 1 0 1 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Notes on "Distribution of votes'"
- The figures under "Candidates" refer to the number of candidates for the proportional representation (PR) system.
- The figures under "Votes" show the number of votes cast for the PR system.
- The figures under "Majority cand." refer to the number of candidates for the majority system.
- The figures under "Double candidacy" show the number of candidates who ran under both the PR and majority systems.
- The "%" between "Double candidacy" and "Majority votes" refers to the percentage of votes won by each political group under PR system.
- The "Majority votes" figure shows the number of votes won by each political group under the majority system. When it is impossible to identify precisely for whom a vote was cast (for instance when there are several candidates with the same family name, and only the family name is written on the ballot), the votes in question are distributed to the candidates concerned in the same proportion as their overall tallies. Consequently, the number of votes is not necessarily a whole number.
- The "%" after the "Majority votes" shows the percentage of votes won by each political group under the majority system.

Notes on "Distribution of seats"
- The number of seats gained or lost by each party in the election (Gain/Loss) is calculated on the number of seats they held at the time of the last election held on 9 November 2003.
- The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presented a total of 30 candidates for the Tokyo district. 23 of these candidates were elected in the single-seat constituencies, and a further eight seats were attributed to the LDP under the PR list. This brings the total number of seats for the LDP to 31; one more than the number of registered candidates. Under the provisions of the Public Office Election Law, the eighth PR seat was therefore attributed the Social Democratic Party.
- Under the Public Office Election Law, a political party has to meet one of the following conditions: 1) to have a minimum of five MPs in the Diet (i.e. both lower and upper houses), or 2) to have obtained a minimum of two per cent of votes either in the single-member-constituencies or in the proportional representation system in the most recent election. Shinto Daichi (New Party Mother Earth) did not fulfill either condition.

Distribution of seats according to age
25 to 29 years: 1
30 to 39 years: 31
40 to 49 years: 83
50 to 59 years: 93
60 to 69 years: 77
Over 70 years: 15

Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (13.03.2006)
House of Representatives (13.12.2005)
BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
Kyodo News: http://www.kyodo.co.jp/
Jiji Press: http://www.jiji.com/
Daily Yomiuri Online: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/
Asahi.com: http://www.asahi.com/

One Liberal Democratic Party MP resigned on 18 January 2006. By-election was held on 23 April 2006 and one female candidate of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) was elected. The number of women has thus increased to 44.

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