JAPAN
Parliamentary Chamber: Sangiin

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1998

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Chamber:
  Sangiin


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  12 July 1998


Purpose of elections:

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


Background and outcome of elections:

  Following the previous (July 1995) partial elections for the House of Councillors partial elections, Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto (Liberal Democratic Party - LDP) became Prime Minister in early 1996 and formed a new coalition Government. In the October 1996 general elections for the House of Representatives, the LDP won an increased number of seats totalling 239 (it had lost its majority four years before).

The 1998 poll took place in the midst of a serious economic recession that was especially marked by high unemployment, budget deficit and bankruptcy rates. Polling day saw a relatively high turnout which contrasted with the general voter apathy evident in the campaigning period. Final results gave the LDP a mere 46 seats (of the 126 at stake and the 59 it was defending), its overall number of Councillors falling from 118 to a record low of 105, although there were some changes in the numerical strength of political parties subsequent to the official election returns as some members changed their party affiliation. In this context, Mr. Hashimoto, taking responsibility for this poor showing, announced his intention to resign from his post on 13 July and Mr. Keizo Obuchi became Prime Minister on 30 July; a new Cabinet was sworn in the same day.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (12 July 1998): Elections results: Majority vote  
Number of registered electors 99,048,700
Voters 58,277,096 (58.84%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 2,341,031
Valid votes 55,936,065
Round no 1 (12 July 1998): Elections results: Proportional vote  
Number of registered electors 99,048,700
Voters 58,263,354 (58.83%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 2,126,331
Valid votes 56,137,023

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Seats 1998
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 105 46
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) 54 33
Komei 24 11
Japan Communist Party (JCP) 23 15
Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ) 14 5
Liberal Party 12 6
Niin Club- Liberal leagues 4 2
New Party Sakigake 3 0
Reformers' Network Party 3 0
Independents 10 8

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 209
Women: 43

Distribution of seats according to age:  
31-40 years 14
41-50 years 40
51-60 years 92
61-70 years 91
Over 70 years 15


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Copyright 1998 Inter-Parliamentary Union