Dynamic and Immobilist Politics in Japan by Stockwin J a a, Martin Collick, Aurelia George, Reader

By Stockwin J a a, Martin Collick, Aurelia George, Reader Department of Human Sciences James Horne

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326-36. 8. See Ehud Harari, 'The Institutionalisation of Policy Consultation in Japan: Public Advisory Bodies', in Gail Lee Bernstein and Haruhiro Fukui (eds), Japan and the World: Essays in Honour of Takeshi Ishida (London: Macmillan, 1988). 2 Parties, Politicians and the Political System J. A. A. STOCKWIN The political party in the modern world comes in many shapes and forms, but there are extraordinarily few political systems which lack parties entirely. One recent study suggests that, even in those cases when an attempt is made to outlaw them, they soon reappear 'rather like bindweed in a suburban garden' .

14 Since LOP support has concentrated more in the countryside than in the cities, the LOP has sometimes enjoyed a seat advantage of several per cent, arguably as the result of this 'negative gerrymander'. In some elections held during the 1970s the LOP position would have been uncomfortable indeed if the imbalance had not existed. A further reason is that elections are extremely expensive, and LOP candidates for the most part have access to much more adequate sources of funding than candidates from other parties.

Quite obviously this situation will tend to promote internal rivalry and conflict within the same party. In the LDP, rival candidates in the same constituency normally belong to different intra-party factions, which, as it were, institutionalise at central level the personal rivalry that takes place at the level of the constituency. The electoral system (at least that for the lower house) thus appears to imperil rather than promote LDP unity and cohesion. Despite this, and despite repeated predictions of a split, the LDP has largely remained intact.

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