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Japanese general election, 1996

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Title: Japanese general election, 1996  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Social Democratic Party (Japan), List of Prime Ministers of Japan, Tokyo proportional representation block, Azuma Koshiishi, Tadahiro Matsushita
Collection: 1996 Elections in Japan, Japanese General Elections
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Japanese general election, 1996

Japanese general election, 1996

20 October 1996

All 500 seats to the House of Representatives of Japan
251 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
Leader Ryutaro Hashimoto Ichirō Ozawa
Party Liberal Democratic New Frontiers
Leader's seat Okayama-2nd Iwate-4th
Last election 223 seats, 36.62% 55 seats, 10.10%
Seats won 239 156
Seat change +28 -4
Popular vote 21,836,091 15,812,320
Percentage 38.63% 27.97%

Prime Minister before election

Ryutaro Hashimoto
Liberal Democratic

Prime Minister-designate

Ryutaro Hashimoto
Liberal Democratic

A general election took place in Japan on October 20, 1996. Incumbent Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of the coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party, New Party Sakigake and the Social Democratic Party won the election.

This is the first election under new elections rules established in 1993 with single non-transferable vote, single-member districts, and some seats being distributed according to proportional representation. Before this election, each district was represented by multiple members, sometimes from the same party, causing intra-party competition. Under the new rules, each district has only one representative now representing a wide range of interests for his or her district. A separate party-list was introduced for voters to choose their favored party (in addition to votes for individual candidates) as a way to more accurately approximate the seats in the House of Representatives of Japan to the actual party votes in an effort to achieve more proportional representation.

With only a single member in each district, this change allows for more district-wide benefits. This is opposed to the old multi-member districts where each representative appeals to either policy or geographic-based benefits to narrow interests in their constituencies, who in turn help their member's campaign in their reelection efforts.


The coalition government won a narrow majority in the election. The Social Democratic Party and the New Party Sakigake lost most of its seats in the House of Representatives due to the formation of coalition with the LDP. The turnout of the election was 59.65%.
 Summary of the 18 July 1996 Japanese House of Representatives election results[1][2][3]
Alliances and parties Local constituency vote PR block vote Total seats +/−
Votes[4] % Seats Votes % Seats
   Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 21,836,096 38.63% 169 18,205,955 32.76% 70 239 Increase28
Social Democratic Party (SDP) 1,240,649 2.19% 4 3,547,240 6.38% 11 15 Decrease15
New Party Harbinger (NPH) 727,644 1.29% 2 582,093 1.05% 0 2 Decrease7
Ruling coalition 23,804,389 42.11% 175 22,335,288 40.19% 81 256 Increase6
   New Frontier Party (NFP) 15,812,326 27.97% 96 15,580,053 28.04% 60 156 Decrease4
Democratic Party (DPJ) 6,001,666 10.62% 17 8,949,190 16.10% 35 52 Steady0
Japan Communist Party (JCP) 7,096,766 12.55% 2 7,268,743 13.08% 24 26 Increase11
Democratic Reform League 149,357 0.26% 1 18,884 0.03% 0 1 Decrease1
Others 1,155,108 2.04% 0 1,417,077 2.55% 0 0 Decrease4
Opposition parties 30,215,223 53.45% 116 33,233,907 59.81% 119 235 Increase2
Independents 2,508,810 4.44% 9 9 Decrease1
Totals 56,528,422 100.00% 300 55,569,195 100.00% 200 500 Increase7
(electoral reform: -11
18 vacant seats)
Turnout 59.65% 59.62%
Party Single-member
Liberal Democrat 169 70 239 (211)
New Frontiers 96 60 156 (160)
Democrat 17 35 52
Japanese Communist 2 24 26 (15)
Social Democrat 4 11 15 (30)
New Party Sakigake 2 0 2 (9)
Democratic Reformers 1 0 1 (2)
Independent 9 0 9 (10)

Numbers in parentheses indicate seats held before the election.


  1. ^ Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Statistics Department, Long-term statistics, chapter 27: Public servants and elections, sections 27-7 to 27-10 Elections for the House of Representatives
  2. ^ Inter Parliamentary Union
  3. ^ Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
  4. ^ Fractional votes rounded to full numbers

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