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How Electoral Reform Boomeranged

Continuity in Japanese Campaigning Style

Edited by Hideo Otake

This volume presents the research and insights of six authors concerning the first general election in Japan’s House of Representatives since the passage in 1994 of a political and electoral reform law. The October 1996 election was seen by reformers as a litmus test for the new law, which they thought would alter the style of campaigning in Japan. Campaign strategies dependent on the clout of an individual candidate’s koenkai, or personal support group, were expected to give way to strategies emphasizing party-based electioneering. The essays collected here conclude that actual campaigning style remained mostly unchanged. The authors focus on individual politicians of varied standing within the Diet, their koenkai in both urban and rural areas, and the large companies and their unions that endorse candidates.

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