Japan: The Prime Minister and the Japanese Diet

Journal of Legislative Studies, Vol. 10, No. 2/3, Summer/Autumn 2004, pp. 250-262.

Mikitaka Masuyama and Benjamin Nyblade



Traditionally, executive leadership has been considered weak and largely irrelevant in Japanese politics. The Prime Minister from 1955 to 1993 was selected from the dominant Liberal Democratic Party and was constrained by the strong internecine factional conflict in his party and, for much of the 1970s and early 1980s, a razor-thin parliamentary majority. Since 1993, coalition politics have become the norm. While most scholars suggest that coalition politics would constrain the executive even further, the decline of factionalism and increased efficacy of egoing publicf has allowed a greater potential for executive leadership in Japan.