Explaining One-Party Dominance - The Case of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: With the puzzle of one-party dominance still looming large, I seek to shed some light on which factors might be considered as explanatory to the long period of hegemony of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. Using existing theories on one-party dominance I examine and argue for Japan’s historical and cultural heritage, the pragmatic flexibility of the LDP, the failure of opposition parties, the 1955 electoral system and the Japanese press clubs as possible explanatory factors for one-party dominance in Japan. In conclusion I argue that there are no general factors applicable on any country experiencing extended rule by a single party. Instead I show that the unique characteristics and conditions that permeate every country present a shifting array of possible explanations for dominance. I contend that it is the combination of such constituents that in the end serve to create one-party dominance in some countries while not in others and that to find the correct constituents you have to scrutinise many aspects of the country of choice. With that in mind I emphasize that the factors mentioned above that I choose to examine in this paper should be seen as a selection for the case of Japan.

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