Parliamentary Chamber: Shugiin


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Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  18 July 1993

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the House of Representatives following premature dissolution of this body on 18 June 1993. General elections for Representatives had previously taken place in February 1990.

Background and outcome of elections:

  On 18 June 1993, the House of Representatives was dissolved some eight months before the normal expiry of its term following a vote of no confidence in the Government of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa. The vote had been tabled by the left-wing Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ - formerly the Socialist Party of Japan) and two smaller opposition parties which had been formed by LDP defectors. The July polling date was then promptly announced.

The election campaign formally began on 4 July with 955 candidates (including a record 70 women) vying for 511 Representatives’ seats. The central issue for debate was political reform – the same question which had led to the no confidence motion – in order to curtail the corruption which had plagued the LDP and other parties in a series of financial scandals. The ruling party countered by stressing its experience in running the country uninterruptedly for 38 years.

The low (67%) turnout on polling day reflected the voters’ general disillusionment with the political process. Final results stripped the conservative LDP of its absolute House majority, with the prime beneficiaries of this protest vote being the three new centre-right parties formed by the LDP rebels – Shinseito (Renewal Party), Japan New Party (JNP) and Sakigake (New Initiative Party) – which had championed reform, clean government and a better deal for consumers. The main opposition, but internally divided, SDPJ, on the other hand, failed to capitalise on this turn of events and suffered its own severe defeat as the electorate generally rejected the political status quo. Given this outcome, the LDP was ousted from power for the first time since 1955 and replaced by a seven-party coalition which spanned the ideological spectrum of the other groups (except the Japanese Communist Party) gaining Representatives’ seats.

On 9 August, Mr. Morihiro Hosokawa, leader of JNP, became Prime Minister at the head of a Cabinet sworn in the same day. Owing to post-election realignments and the support of independents, the alliance succeeded in controlling an absolute majority of House seats.

Round no 1 (18 July 1993): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 94,866,020
Voters 63,547,819 (66.98%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 743,674
Valid votes 62,804,145

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 285 22,999,646 36.62
Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ) 142 9,687,588 15.43
Shinseito 69 6,341,364 10.10
Komeito 54 5,114,351 8.14
Japan New Party (JNP) 57 5,053,981 8.05
Japan Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) 28 2,205,682 3.51
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 129 4,834,587 7.70
Sakigake 16 1,658,097 2.64
United Socialist Democratic Party 4 461,169 0.73
Independents 109 4,304,188 6.85

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 223 -52
Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ) 70 -66
Shinseito 55 +55
Komeito 51 +6
Japan New Party (JNP) 35 +35
Japan Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) 15 +1
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 15 -1
Sakigake 13 +13
United Socialist Democratic Party 4 =
Independents 30 +9

  One seat less than previous elections.
Plus 15 vacancies.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 497
Women: 14

Distribution of seats according to age:  
25-29 years 5
30-34 years 15
35-39 years 32
40-44 years 50
45-49 years 84
50-54 years 80
55-59 years 78
60-64 years 67
65-69 years 65
70 years and over 35

Distribution of seats according to profession:

Executives and staff members of associations or organisations 154
Officers and secretariat members of political parties 144
Members of executive boards of corporations, etc. 72
Lawyers 32
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries 16
Education 16
Ministers and Parliamentary Vice-Ministers, etc. 13
Doctors 5
Writers 5
Others 13
No other profession 41

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Copyright 1993 Inter-Parliamentary Union