1990 Japanese general election

Summary

General elections were held in Japan on 18 February 1990 to elect the 512 members of the House of Representatives, the lower house of the National Diet.[1]

1990 Japanese general election

← 1986 18 February 1990 1993 →

All 512 seats in the House of Representatives
257 seats needed for a majority
Turnout73.3% (Increase1.9%)
  First party Second party Third party
  Toshiki Kaifu cropped 2 Toshiki Kaifu 19890810.jpg Takako Doi in Tokyo congressist election 2.jpg
CGP
Leader Toshiki Kaifu Takako Doi Koshiro Ishida
Party LDP Socialist Kōmeitō
Leader since 8 August 1989 9 September 1986 21 May 1989
Last election 49.42%, 300 seats 17.23%, 85 seats 9.43%, 56 seats
Seats won 275 136 45
Seat change Decrease25 Increase51 Decrease11
Popular vote 30,315,417 16,025,473 5,242,675
Percentage 46.14% 24.35% 7.98%
Swing Decrease3.28pp Increase7.12pp Decrease1.45pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Fuwa Tetsuzo.png
DSP
Satsuki Eda cropped.jpg
Leader Tetsuzo Fuwa Eiichi Nagasue Satsuki Eda
Party Communist Democratic Socialist Socialist Democratic
Leader since 29 May 1989 February 1985
Last election 8.79%, 26 seats 6.44%, 26 seats 0.83%, 4 seats
Seats won 16 14 4
Seat change Decrease10 Decrease12 Steady
Popular vote 5,226,987 3,178,949 566,957
Percentage 7.96% 4.84% 0.86%
Swing Decrease0.83pp Decrease1.60pp Increase0.03pp

  Seventh party
 
PRG
Leader Seiichi Tagawa
Party Progressive
Last election
Seats won 1
Seat change New
Popular vote 281,793
Percentage 0.43%
Swing New

1990 JAPAN GENERAL ELECTION, combined vote share.svg

Prime Minister before election

Toshiki Kaifu
LDP

Prime Minister after election

Toshiki Kaifu
LDP

BackgroundEdit

As with the previous House of Councillors election, the "four-point set of evils" in the minds of voters were the controversial consumption tax, the Recruit scandal, agricultural import liberalisation, and former Prime Minister Sōsuke Uno's sex scandal. Political commentators excitedly speculated whether a "Great Reversal" would finally come about in which the LDP loses its majority in the House of Representatives, as the prior 1989 election saw the LDP lose its long-held majority in the House of Councillors.[2]

ResultsEdit

 
PartyVotes%Seats+/–
Liberal Democratic Party30,315,41746.14275–25
Japan Socialist Party16,025,47324.39136+51
Kōmeitō5,242,6757.9845–11
Japanese Communist Party5,226,9877.9616–10
Democratic Socialist Party3,178,9494.8414–12
Socialist Democratic Federation566,9570.8640
Progressive Party281,7930.431New
Other parties58,5360.090
Independents4,807,5247.3221+12
Total65,704,311100.005120
Valid votes65,704,31199.23
Invalid/blank votes511,5950.77
Total votes66,215,906100.00
Registered voters/turnout90,322,90873.31
Source: IPU

By prefectureEdit

Prefecture Total
seats
Seats won
LDP JSP Kōmeitō JCP DSP SDF PP Ind.
Aichi 22 11 6 2 2 1
Akita 7 4 2 1
Aomori 7 5 2
Chiba 18 12 5 1
Ehime 9 6 3
Fukui 4 3 1
Fukuoka 19 8 4 4 2 1
Fukushima 12 6 5 1
Gifu 9 6 2 1
Gunma 10 6 3 1
Hiroshima 12 8 3 1
Hokkaido 23 12 7 1 1 1 1
Hyōgo 19 10 4 2 3
Ibaraki 12 8 3 1
Ishikawa 5 4 1
Iwate 8 4 3 1
Kagawa 6 4 2
Kagoshima 10 5 4 1
Kanagawa 20 9 6 4 1
Kōchi 5 2 1 1 1
Kumamoto 10 6 2 1 1
Kyoto 10 4 2 2 1 1
Mie 9 5 2 1 1
Miyagi 9 6 3
Miyazaki 6 3 2 1
Nagano 13 8 4 1
Nagasaki 9 5 2 1 1
Nara 5 2 1 1 1
Niigata 13 8 4 1
Ōita 7 4 2 1
Okayama 10 4 2 2 1 1
Okinawa 5 2 1 1 1
Osaka 27 8 5 7 5 1 1
Saga 5 3 1 1
Saitama 17 8 5 2 1 1
Shiga 5 3 1 1
Shimane 5 3 1 1
Shizuoka 14 10 3 1
Tochigi 10 6 3 1
Tokushima 5 2 2 1
Tokyo 44 18 11 8 3 1 1 2
Tottori 4 2 2
Toyama 6 4 2
Wakayama 6 4 1 1
Yamagata 7 5 1 1
Yamaguchi 9 6 2 1
Yamanashi 5 3 2
Total 512 275 136 45 16 14 4 1 21

AnalysisEdit

Although the LDP lost a net total of 25 seats, it still held onto its majority in the House of Representatives with a margin of 19 seats. This was due to the inequitable districting practices in Japan at the time, as individual voters in rural districts tend to both favour the LDP and also be disproportionately influential. However, the LDP did see losses among rural voters in the 1989 elections, and as a result the party pivoted away from their commitment to liberal import policies and back into a more protectionist rhetoric, declaring that "not one grain of foreign rice will be imported into Japan." The LDP also acquiesced by revising the consumption tax law to allow for exceptions; moreover, public resistance to the new tax had slightly decreased since the 1989 Upper House election. Although party leadership tends to have only minor influence on Japanese elections, positive cabinet approval ratings for the LDP bounced back from Noboru Takeshita's low of 10% to the reform-minded Toshiki Kaifu's 33%. In addition, the LDP also made sure to field an ample amount of candidates and to informally support independents, who increased by 12 in this election.[2]

The clear winner in the elections was the Japan Socialist Party, whose number of seats rose by 51 and whose popular vote rose by 7.12% from the last election. This was the JSP's strongest performance in a general election since 1967, and left it as the only party to gain any seats. Meanwhile, the other three main opposition parties (Komeito, the JCP, and the DSP) lost 11, 10, and 12 seats respectively, and all of them also saw reductions in their popular vote. According to surveys, however, the shift in support for the JSP was more to do with the familiar Japanese tendency to cast protest votes against the LDP rather than expressions of support for all of the opposition's platform. Moreover, the JSP continued to suffer from factional infighting and a relative lack of fund-raising when compared to the LDP, and thus its fortunes would only wind up being in the short-term.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Elections held in 1990 Inter-Parliamentary Union
  2. ^ a b c Donnelly, Michael W. (1990). "No Great Reversal in Japan: Elections for the House of Representatives in 1990". Pacific Affairs. 63 (3): 303–320. doi:10.2307/2759521. JSTOR 2759521.