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  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: February 2016

6 - Electoral Strategies of Opposition Focused on Policy

Summary

Chapter 1 described the puzzling turnaround in attention to national security by conservative Japanese politicians in 1997. Chapter 2 argued that this is best explained by a shift in their electoral strategies from pork for groups of voters in their respective districts to broad policy issues like national security, brought about by electoral reform to the House of Representatives (HOR) in 1994. Chapter 3 explained how candidate election manifestos and quantitative text analysis were used to obtain measures of the degree to which each of the 7,497 serious candidates competing in the eight HOR elections held between 1986 and 2009 were relying on pork, policy, and within the policy category, national security policy. Chapter 4 used those measures to test Hypothesis 1, which contended that conservative candidates adopted electoral strategies dominated by pork prior to electoral reform, Hypothesis 2, which contended that conservative candidates facing higher levels of intraparty competition adopted electoral strategies of more pork than conservative candidates facing lower levels of intraparty competition, and Hypothesis 3, which contended that conservative candidates adopted electoral strategies dominated by broad policy issues after electoral reform. Chapter 5 demonstrated that conservative candidates adopted electoral strategies comprised of no national security prior to electoral reform and strategies comprised of national security after electoral reform. It also presented evidence that the shift in strategies and turnaround in attention to national security are not explained by seven categories of alternative explanations.

This chapter focuses on the electoral strategies of candidates running from the seventeen major opposition parties that fielded candidates in these eight elections. The theory outlined in Chapter 2 explained why the absence or extremely low levels of intraparty competition faced by these candidates would have given them incentives to adopt electoral strategies dominated by broad policy issues under both electoral systems. The theory also explained why the need to capture a relatively small proportion of the vote to win a seat under the old system, Single-Nontransferable-Vote in Multimember Districts (SNTV-MMD), would have inclined them toward positions on these issues that were relatively ideologically extreme (e.g. Cox 1990; Kohno 1997; Pekkanen and Krauss 2005; Maeda 2012).

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