This presentation explains why the Liberal Democratic Party lost the 2009 election despite its longtime grip on power. The two key causal variables are the party’s coalition with Komeito since 2000 and the recent surge of municipal mergers. Although backing by Komeito salvaged many of the LDP candidates in competitive urban districts, the municipal mergers eroded the LDP’s strongholds in rural areas. Despite the fact that the LDP’s optimization tactics prolonged the life of the party in government, these two changes altogether led to magnified volatility of the LDP’s seat shares. Saito will also discuss policy implications of the LDP’s longevity in power.
Jun Saito is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, Yale University. He also was a member of the Japanese House of Representatives (2002-2003) for the Democratic Party of Japan, representing Yamagata 4th District. In 2006, he earned his PhD in political science from Yale University.
In August, Jun Saito published a book entitled “Jimintō Seiken no Seiji Keizaigaku” (“The Political Economy of the LDP Regime”). In it he focuses on the institutional contexts that sustained the long-term dominance of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party.