Parliamentary Chamber: Sangiin


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Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  23 July 1989

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for one-half (126) of the seats in the House of Councilors on the normal expiry of the members’ term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  In the 1989 general election for the House of Councillors, there was a total of 670 candidates – 385 from 40 parties under the proportional representative system and 285 candidates in the local electoral districts – an unprecedented number in polling for Councillors.

The central issues debated during the 18-day campaign were a new consumption tax, the Recruit financial scandal and the liberalization of agricultural products. Election results ushered in a new phase in Japanese politics: the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP), suffered its worst setback at the polls since its founding in 1955, while the Socialist Party of Japan (JSP), led by Mrs. Takako Doi, took an enormous leap forward. Consequently, the opposition parties together occupied more Councillors’ seats than the ruling LDP. In particular, the JSP for the first time exceeded the LDP in the percentage of the votes cast under the proportional representation system. Altogether, 146 women candidates ran in the election, of whom 22 were successful, both of these numbers being records.

Given the overall polling results, Prime Minister Sosuke Uno resigned to take responsibility for the LDP defeat and in his place Mr. Toshiki Kaifu, also from LDP but a member of the House of Representatives, took office on 9 August 1989.

Round no 1 (23 July 1989): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 89,891,358
Voters local seats 58,446,365 (65%)
Voters proportional seats 58,434,062 (65%)
Valid votes local seats 56,899,634
Valid votes proportional seats 56,171,328

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Seats won in 1989 Proportional Local district Gain/Loss
Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) 109 36 15 21 -33
Socialist Party of Japan (JSP) 66 46 20 26 +24
Komeito (Clean Government Party) 20 10 6 4 -2
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 14 5 4 1 -3
Japan Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) 8 3 2 1 -3
Other parties* 22 16 3 13 +12
Independents 13 10 - 10 +5

  * Including the newly formed Rengo no Kai group, which won 11 local district seats.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 219
Women: 33

Distribution of seats according to age:  
30-39 years 4
40-49 years 27
50-59 years 87
60-69 years 95
70 years and over 39

Distribution of seats according to profession:

Clerks or directors of associations or organizations 56
Local assemblymen 48
Public officials 40
Education 21
Lawyers 17
Journalists 13
Governors 13
Clerks or directors of corporations 10
Arts, culture 10
Secretaries to Diet Members 8
Doctors, pharmacists 6
Clergy 5
Others 5

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Copyright 1989 Inter-Parliamentary Union