Mikitaka Masuyama, Seikei University, Dept. Law

Prepared for delivery at the Annual Meeting of the Public Choice Society,

San Antonio, Texas, March 9-11, 2001.


The most notable political change that occurred in Japan during the 1990s was that the long-term ruling Liberal Democratic Party became unable to maintain a majority in the Diet. As a result, negotiations between political parties have been an essential element of the lawmaking process. To understand the consequence of the increased power instability, this study applies a heteroskedastic probit model on the data set consisting of postwar government legislation, and examines the relationship between the interparty interaction over the course of legislation and the likelihood of a party to support a government bill. The analysis will show that, with the exception of the Communists, all the opposition parties became fully supportive of government legislation by the early 1990s. The trend toward consensual decision making was established well ahead of the demise of the long-term one-party government, and the parties of centrists and social democrats came to take a pivotal role in coalition building, shifting the range of government legislation in their favor.