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Electoral Reform and the Evolution of Informal Norms in Japan Author(s): Matthew M. Carlson Source: Asian Survey, Vol.

46, No. 3 (May/June 2006), pp. 362-380 Published by: University of California Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/as.2006.46.3.362 . Accessed: 25/09/2011 02:39
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Matthew M. Carlson

Politicians and parties may devise informal norms of behavior to help assure their political survival following the adoption of a new electoral system. This article focuses on the development and consequences of Costa Rica arrangements an alternation strategy used in Japans new electoral system for the lower house. Keywords: Japan, LDP, electoral reform, campaigns, mixed-member electoral systems

Mixed-member electoral systems have been adopted in post-communist countries (e.g., Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Russia), Latin America (e.g., Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia), and in the established democracies of Italy, New Zealand, and Japan. Mixed systems are described as combining two features of electoral system design: proportional systems, which have multi-member districts, typically with party lists, and majoritarian systems, which usually have single-member districts (SMDs) with plurality rule.1 Not surprisingly, the reforms in those countries have generated considerable interest in the political consequences of mixed systems. This article examines in depth an important and peculiar informal norm that evolved in Japan: Costa Rica arrangements, where two politicians agree to alternate tiers in subsequent
Matthew M. Carlson is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont. He wishes to thank Ikuo Kabashima, Gabriella Montinola, Steven Vogel, Unni Edvardsen, and an anonymous reviewer for their suggestions on earlier drafts. He also wishes to acknowledge research funding from the Asian Studies Program and the Department of Political Science at the University of Vermont. Email: Matthew.Carlson@uvm.edu. 1. Matthew Shugart and Martin Wattenberg, eds., Mixed-Member Electoral Systems: The Best of Both Worlds? (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001). Asian Survey, Vol. 46, Issue 3, pp. 362380, ISSN 0004-4687, electronic ISSN 1533-838X. 2006 by The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Presss Rights and Permissions website, at http://www.ucpress.edu/journals/rights.htm.




elections.2 Typically, one politician agrees to compete as a single-member district representative and the other as a proportional representative; both consent to alternate positions every other election. Few scholars have focused on the development and consequences of such informal norms of behavior, a fact regrettable for both practical and theoretical reasons. On a practical level, citizens in all corners of the world live in countries with mixed systems; other countries are considering similar electoral reforms. On a theoretical level, understanding the development and consequences of informal norms contributes to knowledge about how electoral rules work in theory and in practice. Creation of informal norms may complicate the expectations of electoral reform; indeed, such norms may interact with formal institutions in ways that alter the electoral incentives of parties and politicians. The 1994 electoral reform in Japan, along with reforms in Italy and New Zealand, is a signicant and relatively rare instance where an established democracy abandons its existing electoral system for one with mixed-member rules. In particular, Japans experience is illuminating because it highlights the challenges of shifting from one system to another, given the still-dominant political position of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Only recently, however, have insights about the role of informal norms gured in debates over the political consequences of electoral rules.3 Precisely how do informal norms evolve and how do they interact with the formal rules of an electoral system? The use of Costa Rica arrangements in the LDP provides an enlightening example of how political actors adapt to a mixed-member system. Additionally, the case of Japan should be relevant for educators, scholars, and policymakers interested in the problems of institutional design and political reform. This study investigates the evolution and consequences of Costa Rica arrangements using a newly collected data set on the year-based expenditures reported by Japanese politicians.4 The benet of using these gures is that they are available at the individual level and for multiple years. Moreover, we are able to examine how the spending patterns reect the specic circumstances
2. The Japanese term for this practice, kosuta rika hoshiki (Costa Rica method), is named after an informal (and technically prohibited) practice in Costa Ricas proportional representation (PR) system. When politicians from the same party wanted to compete in the same district, they sometimes agreed that one of them would run first and then step aside for the other to run in the next election. 3. For a brief mention of their role in the case of Italy, see, e.g., Stefano Giovani, The Political Consequences of the Italian Mixed Electoral System (19942001), a paper prepared for the conference on Elections and Democracy, University of Lisbon, February 12, 2002, pp. 1920. For discussion on the use of support groups in Japan, see Matthew Carlson, Electoral Reform and the Costs of Personal Support in Japan, Journal of East Asian Studies 6:2 (May-August 2006). 4. The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts, and Telecommunications in Tokyo and the electoral commissions established in each of Japans 47 prefectures collect and publish these reports. I have merged both sources for each individual politician.



faced by politicians. By comparing the expenditures of politicians in Costa Rica arrangements with those of other LDP politicians, we can speak more precisely not only about the impact of such informal arrangements but also about the incentives politicians face to spend money in one of the most expensive electoral systems in the world. This article also relies on the results of the authors eldwork and interviews with Japanese politicians to highlight the peculiar dynamics faced by participants in a Costa Rica arrangement. This paper discusses some of the broader literature on the study of mixedmember electoral systems and addresses the signicance of informal norms. It then examines the development and logic behind Costa Rica arrangements for the LDP. Using campaign expenditure data and information gleaned from case studies, we consider the dynamics and consequences of these arrangements since the electoral system was adopted in 1994.

Mixed-Member Electoral Systems and Informal Norms

Many scholars suggest that mixed-member electoral systems may offer the best of both worldsboth majoritarianism and proportional representation and personalized geographic representation and party representation.5 Because mixed-member systems can differ signicantly in their conguration, their ability to deliver optimally depends not only on the specic formal rules used in practice but also on the strategic behavior of political actors such as parties and politicians. For example, mixed systems can differ in how the PR and SMD tiers are linked or in the percentage of seats allocated to the PR tier. In compensatory systems such as Germany and New Zealand, the number of seats parties win in the PR tier is partially determined by the number of votes cast or seats won in the SMD tier. In parallel systems such as Russia, Mexico, and Japan, the number of votes and seats won by parties in the PR tier are not adjusted based on their performance in the SMD tier. As the conguration of mixed systems can diverge widely, it follows that the political consequences of using such systems are not uniform: their effects can be especially difcult to discern when other factors, such as the strategic behavior of parties and politicians, are considered. Using aggregate election and survey data, scholars have come to a consensus that . . . mixed systems are not the sum of their component parts, but systems with incentives and outcomes that distinguish them from PR and SMD.6
5. Matthew Shugart and Martin Wattenberg, Introduction: The Electoral Reform of the TwentyFirst Century, in Mixed-Member Electoral Systems: The Best of Both Worlds? eds. Matthew Shugart and Martin Wattenberg (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 2. 6. Erik Herron and Misa Nishikawa, Contamination Effects and the Number of Parties in MixedSuperposition Electoral Systems, Electoral Studies 20:1 (March 2001), pp. 6386.



In mixed systems, contamination effects emerge when the incentives of one tier affect the strategic behavior of parties and politicians in the other tier. One of the central ndings in the literature is that the parties placement of candidates in the SMD tier can have a signicant impact on their electoral performance in the PR tier. In addition, scholars have documented how the presence of mixed rules affects other aspects of the political system such as strategic voting, the number of political parties, and election campaigns.7 However, few studies have tackled the role of informal norms in mixed systems, let alone the potential contamination effects generated by Costa Rica arrangements in Japan. The introduction of mixed electoral systems can lead to the evolution of informal norms by parties and politicians keen to ensure their political survival in the new system. Informal norms are not necessarily established electoral rules but develop as a response by political actors to the established rules. These norms often emerge as a means to challenge the intended effects of the formal rules, to mitigate those effects, and to help ensure political survival. Mixed electoral systems afford a particularly hospitable environment for a wide range of informal and strategic behaviors to thrive in, given the different linkages across systems between the SMD and PR tiers. An example from Italy is pertinent here because it illustratesbeyond the Japanese case detailed below how development of an informal practice has weakened the effects of the formal rule change. In Italys mixed system, a formal rule called the scorporo (subtractor) was established as an adjustment mechanism for calculating a partys vote in the allocation of its PR seats: parties are supposed to pay a price for winning seats in the SMD tier.8 Nothing in the electoral law species that Italian politicians cannot associate themselves with ctitious political party lists.9 By the third election held under the new rules, the scorporo had lost its compensating function for smaller parties unable to win SMD tier seats: only the ctitious parties paid the price.10 Because the creation of informal norms has the potential
7. See, e.g., Steven Reed, Strategic Voting in the 1996 Japanese General Election, Comparative Political Studies 32:2 (April 1999), pp. 25770; and Karen Cox and Len Schoppa, Interaction Effects in Mixed Member Electoral Systems: Theory and Evidence from Germany, Japan, and Italy, ibid. 35:9 (November 2002), pp. 102753. 8. Giovani, The Political Consequences of the Italian Mixed Electoral System, pp. 1920. 9. Japan uses a closed party list system, where the party determines the ranking of candidates and voters do not express their preference for any individual candidates. Parties assign their candidates to party lists that represent 11 regional blocseach bloc contains multiple prefectures with the exceptions of Tokyo and Hokkaido. Each bloc is allocated a specific portion of the 180 seats; the number of seats that a party wins is proportional to the number of votes it receives from among the electorate. For example, in the 2005 lower house election, eight of 180 seats were allocated to the Hokkaido bloc. If party A won 50% of the votes, it would receive four seats. 10. In December 2005, Italy abandoned its mixed electoral system for a PR system that uses a series of thresholds to encourage parties to form coalitions.



to alter and even circumvent the intended effects of formal rules, the dynamics these norms generate warrant additional research. The scope of this study is limited to the case of Japan. We focus on the evolution of Costa Rica arrangements in the LDP, particularly since their use has been extremely limited in other parties. These arrangements evolved as a temporary solution for party leaders to mitigate tensions over which politicians will receive the party nomination in the new single-member districts, because parties may only nominate one candidate in each district. In the rst election, one politician competes in the SMD tier and another politician in the PR tier; both promise to swap positions in the following election. The party organization is able to achieve compliance because politicians are typically required to sign agreements that clarify the exact terms of the arrangement and the consequences for not carrying it out. Many political reformers and scholars of Japanese politics hoped the change in the electoral system would reduce corruption and the high cost of elections, promote more policy and issue debates between parties and candidates, and encourage a two-party system.11 However, a strong possibility remains that the development of informal norms such as Costa Rica arrangements may push the electoral system in the opposite direction. Because many politicians anticipate an alternation back to the SMD tier, they may need to spend considerable sums of money to maintain their geographical base and their koenkai (personal support networks).12 The reasons why Costa Rica arrangements developed in the LDP are detailed in the next section, beginning with a discussion of Japans previous and new electoral systems.

The Evolution and Logic of Costa Rica Arrangements

From 1947 to 1993, Japan used a single, non-transferable-vote electoral system, said by some scholars to be one of the electoral systems most likely to encourage a personal vote.13 With a typical range of three to ve seats avail11. See Otake Hideo, Overview, in How Electoral Reform Boomeranged, ed. Otake Hideo (New York: Japan Center for International Exchange, 1998), pp. vixxxi; Gerald Curtis, The Logic of Japanese Politics: Leaders, Institutions, and the Limits of Change (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999); and Ray Christensen, The Effects of Electoral Reforms on Campaign Practices in Japan: Putting New Wine into Old Bottles, Asian Survey 38:10 (October 1998), pp. 9861004; and Steven Reed, ed., Japanese Electoral Politics: Creating a New Party System (New York: Routledge Curzon, 2003). 12. The koenkai refers to the use of a mass-membership organization with the function of organizing large numbers of the general electorate on behalf of a particular Diet candidate. Gerald Curtis, Election Campaigning, Japanese Style (New York: Columbia University Press, 1971), p. 128. 13. John Carey and Matthew Shugart, Incentives to Cultivate a Personal Vote: A Rank Ordering of Electoral Formulas, Electoral Studies 14:4 (December 1995), pp. 41739; and Bruce Cain,



able in each multi-member district, larger parties like the LDP had little recourse but to nominate more than one candidate in each district if they desired to capture a majority of seats in the lower house of the Diet. Under this system, most LDP members faced both intraparty and interparty competition at the district level, which encouraged a strong reliance on the personal vote, the use of personal support groups, and the need to spend large sums of money during the year.14 In 1994 Japanese politicians adopted a mixed-member electoral system that currently combines 300 SMD and 180 PR seats. It is a parallel system, where the allocation of party seats in the PR tier is not based on parties performance in the SMD tier. Politicians and parties may now win a seat through three main avenues. First, candidates can win the single-member district outright by capturing the most votes. Second, the formal rules permit dual candidacy, where candidates can compete in the SMD tier and simultaneously be placed on a party list.15 This allows for a number of politicians each election to become lower house members despite losing in the SMD tier. Finally, candidates can compete purely in the PR tier, where parties must assign a separate list ranking for such candidates. The new rules thus allow candidates to be dual-listed or to compete purely in either tier. The new avenues available to win a seat permitted the development of Costa Rica arrangements in the LDP. Nothing is specied in Japans extensive electoral laws that allows or prohibits the creation of Costa Rica arrangements. Instead, these arrangements evolved because party leaders opted to make maximum use of the laws allowing them to place politicians in high party list positions as pure PR contestants. The new use of the PR tier and the pure list positions strengthened the hands of the party in determining which candidates are nominated and ultimately elected. By offering politicians positions at the top of the party lists without dual listing, the party could practically guarantee their reelection. Thus, when complicated nomination issues arose between two given politicians, party leaders could create Costa Rica arrangements by promising one candidate
John Ferejohn, and Morris Fiorina, The Personal Vote: Constituency Service and Electoral Independence (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987). Cain et al. define the personal vote as the . . . portion of a candidates electoral support which originates in his or her personal qualities, qualifications, activities, and record (p. 9). 14. See, e.g., Chalmers Johnson, Japan: Who Governs? The Rise of the Developmental State (New York: Norton, 1996), p. 215; and Hiroshi Mizuguchi, Political Reform: Much Ado about Nothing? Japan Quarterly 40:3 (July 1993), pp. 24657. 15. Typically, party leaders at the national and local levels meet and decide which candidates to place on the 11 regional lists. Leaders frequently assign candidates who compete in both the SMD and PR tiers to the same numerical ranking on the party list and use the best-loser provision to determine their final position on the list. Leaders assign candidates who are only competing in the PR tier to separate, individual rankings from other candidates. Parties then allocate the number of seats they win in each regional list according to the final list rankings of their candidates.



reelection in exchange for his or her cooperation in alternating positions in subsequent elections. Party leaders, however, are constrained from offering too many candidates high positions on the party lists, to avoid considerable resistance from duallisted politicians. In the LDP, most politicians are dual-listed and want to assure that the maximum number of spaces will be made available, given that they could lose in an SMD race but still win a seat in the PR tier. Their resurrection is possible because the formal rules of the new system allow parties to place clusters of dual-listed candidates at the same list ranking. To determine which of these candidates win the seat, parties use a formal rule called sekihairitsu (best-loser provision) that scores candidates based on their SMD performance.16 Not surprisingly, dual-listed candidates and their supporters pressure the party leaders to use pure PR candidacies sparingly because this will increase the likelihood of there being extra seats for politicians resurrection.17 Costa Rica arrangements also emerged as a solution to party nomination problems in districts where there are two equally strong contenders or in cases where politicians changed their party afliation and sought the nomination in a district where there was already an incumbent from the same party. In particular, the introduction of the new system created party nomination problems for the LDP. The new legislation mandated the redistricting of Japans old multi-member districts into smaller single-member constituencies. Because of the redistricting, politicians often discovered that their former supporters were now scattered among several electoral districts. The reality that the number of incumbents in the LDP exceeded the number of available single-member districts further confounded politicians worries over the party nomination. In such circumstances, the use of the Costa Rica arrangement helped alleviate nomination problems by allowing incumbents to preserve their geographical base through the alternation system. This alternation strategy was also useful to party leaders in coping with districts where politicians wanted to switch their afliation to the LDP. After the demise in 1998 of Ozawa Ichiros New Frontier Party (NFP), which had failed to unseat the LDP in 1996 in the rst election held under the new rules, many politicians wanted to join or rejoin the LDP. To bring the best of these politicians into the LDPs fold, party leaders offered many of them high positions on the party lists if there was no room in the SMD tier. In several cases, party leaders organized a Costa Rica arrangement so that the politicians could switch to the SMD tier in the subsequent election.
16. The calculation for the best-loser provision is the number of votes the candidate receives divided by votes won by the first-place finisher. 17. Author interview with Kato Chiharu (former election strategy chair of the LDP), Tokyo, November 7, 2002.



From the 1996 to the 2005 elections, the LDP used Costa Rica arrangements 11 times. Not all of these proved successful at the ballot box. From 19962003, only ve arrangements resulted in the election of both the SMD and the PR candidates. By the 2005 election, many of these arrangements ceased to exist for various reasons including electoral loss. It was common for many of the SMD-based candidates to suffer defeat by the opposition. In contrast, most of the PR-based candidates easily won seats because the LDP ranked them at the top of the lists. However, one PR-based candidate lost an election because of a low ranking.18 In another instance, a politician failed to receive the party nomination for the PR tier because he opposed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumis postal privatization bills in the 2005 election.19 This study now focuses on the consequences of the Costa Rica arrangements for individual politicians. First, we examine the year-based nancial expenditures of LDP politicians by comparing the year-based expenditures of candidates in Costa Rica arrangements with those of other groups of LDP candidates. Specically, I examine the effects of tier alternation on the level of expenditures, which reveals some of the underlying dynamics between money and the effects of the mixed rules in Japan. We then offer a case study of a Costa Rica arrangement based on interviews with Japanese politicians and the use of campaign nance data for both the pre-reform and post-reform period.

Costa Rica Arrangements and Campaign Costs

To win election or reelection in Japan, politicians typically raise and spend large sums of money during the year on such items as their koenkai, staff salaries, and ofce expenses. An examination of the ofcial nancial disclosure reports of LDP candidates therefore contains valuable information about the costs of their campaigns under the new electoral system.20 This analysis focuses largely on the disclosure reports of LDP politicians who alternated tiers from 19962003, making it possible to consider the effects of different competitive environments on the level of expenditures while controlling for candidate characteristics, which we can assume remain constant across elections.
18. This is the case of Hasegawa Tatsuya, a relative newcomer to national politics, whom party leaders ranked last on the Tokai PR list in the 2003 election. See Chunichi Shimbun [Chunichi News] (Nagoya, Aichi), November 5, 2003. 19. This happened to Fujii Takao, who competed against his former Costa Rica partner, Kaneko Kazuyoshi, in Gifu Prefecture. 20. These figures were gathered from two sets of publications (various years), the Kanpo [Public Register] (Tokyo: Ministry of Finance) and the Koho [Prefectural Gazette]. Current campaign finance laws permit politicians to organize three general types of political organizations: seito shibu [party branch], koenkai [support group], and seiji shikin kanri dantai [political fund control group]. I total all of the expenditures related to these organizations with the exception of transfers made out of an organization, which is necessary to reduce double counting between organizations.



If we rst ignore the potential inuence of informal norms, we can hypothesize about the likely effects of tier alternation on politicians expenditure levels as a means to offer a baseline for comparative analysis. In general, candidates who alternate to the PR tier should face fewer incentives to spend money than those in the SMD tier. The effects of the PR tier should reduce the incentives to spend money on such items as koenkai now that politicians do not face direct interparty competition on the party lists. In contrast, candidates alternating from the PR to the SMD tier should be expected to spend more money than before. When we take into account the inuence of informal norms, Costa Rica arrangements could complicate the expectations above because politicians still need to maintain their geographical base in preparation for alternation with the other candidate. The direction of tier alternation can also be expected to affect the expenditure levels of Costa Rica politicians. Alternating from the PR to SMD tier, for example, may be more costly than moving from the SMD to the PR tier. To the extent that these arrangements differ from those of other candidates who also changed tiers, we are able to glean some evidence on whether specic patterns of tier alternation appear to impact expenditure levels. To consider the effects of tier alternation on politicians levels of campaign expenditures, the analysis divides LDP politicians into specic groups depending on which tiers they contested in the 1996, 2000, and 2003 elections.21 Since the general dynamics of the SMD and PR tiers regarding expenditure levels is of interest, both Costa Rica and non-Costa Rica politicians are included in the analysis. Patterns A-C refer to the movements possible between the SMD and PR tiers for politicians who remained in the LDP since 1996 and competed in all three elections; Patterns D and E represent politicians who did not change tiers.22 These patterns and the number of politicians represented are as follows: Pattern A: SMD to PR to SMD (9 cases), Pattern B: SMD to PR to PR (7 cases), Pattern C: SMD to SMD to PR (12 cases), Pattern D: SMD to SMD to SMD (136 cases), and Pattern E: PR to PR to PR (6 cases). By considering expenditure levels across these patterns, we are able to speak more precisely about the general dynamics of tier alternation. The expectation is that politicians should spend fewer funds when rotating to the PR tier, while the expenditure levels of politicians who do not alternate tiers should be rela21. Dual-listed LDP politicians are classified as belonging to the SMD tier. I have omitted from the analysis three other patterns (PR-SMD-SMD, PR-SMD-PR, and PR-PR-SMD) that contain only a few empirical examples. Data for the 2005 election will not be available until the end of 2006. 22. The analysis was conducted with less stringent coding rules, such as cases where politicians changed parties in one election or only competed in two elections. The results differ little from those presented here.



gure 1 Average Costs for LDP Cohorts, 19962003

SOURCES: Kanpo and Koho, 19962003.

tively stable from one year to the next. Figure 1 shows the average level of expenditure for each of the ve patterns. The rst three patterns appear to support the general expectation that alternation from SMD to PR is, on average, less expensive. Politicians in Pattern A, for example, spent an average of 94.4 million yen ($890,200) in the SMD tier, 83.3 million ($795,600) in PR, and then 104.6 million ($987,800) back in SMD. Figure 1 also suggests that remaining in the SMD tier in three consecutive terms (Pattern D) entailed the highest average levels of expenditure for LDP politicians, with a high of 135.7 million ($1.28 million) in 2000. In contrast, remaining in the PR tier during the same time span (Pattern E) entailed a high of 46.7 million ($440,600) that year. For both groups of politicians who did not alternate tiers, the average expenditure levels were relatively constant from election to election in contrast to the groups that alternated. Furthermore, none of the alternating groups exhibited a higher average expenditure than LDP politicians who stayed in the SMD tier, suggesting where the most expensive races for Japans lower house reside. The analysis presented in Figure 1 supports the general expectation that switching to the PR tier should entail a decrease in expenditure. But what about the cases of Costa Rica candidates, who are grouped with other politicians in Patterns A-C? If Costa Rica arrangements do not differ radically from other cases of politicians who changed tiers, perhaps we should expect little discernible difference in levels of expenditure. If, however, the dynamics of Costa Rica arrangements generate additional pressures on politicians to spend



money, one might expect to nd notable differences between those in Costa Rica arrangements and those who are not. To disaggregate the patterns reported in Figure 1, we have calculated the total average spending and percentage change in the level of expenditure, both for LDP members in Costa Rica arrangements and those who are not. These gures are given in Table 1 for Patterns A-C, which are the relevant cases involving tier alternation. The top of the table shows all LDP members in Pattern A. Five of the politicians are in Costa Rica arrangements; four are not. By comparing the average difference in the amounts of expenditure as well as the percentage change from one election to the next (19962000 and 200003), it is possible to discern a few trends. First, contrary to the pattern suggested in Figure 1 for all LDP politicians, the ve politicians in Costa Rica arrangements (Pattern A) all spent more moving from the SMD tier in 1996 to the PR tier in 2000. The percentage change in the increase ranged from a high of 176% to a low of 8%, respectively. In contrast, all of the non-Costa Rica candidates spent less moving to the PR tier in 2000 than they had under SMD in 1996, a decrease that ranged from 16% to 68%, respectively. For the shift back to the SMD tier, the politicians in both groups generally spent more, as expected, with two Costa Rica members and one non-member reporting spending less. Although some caution is required in interpreting these results given the small number of politicians being compared, those in Costa Rica arrangements all spent more, suggesting that the impact of informal norms is not inconsequential. Pattern B in Table 1 shows the gures for politicians who changed from the SMD tier after the rst election and remained in the PR tier for the next two elections. Although we should exert similar caution in interpretation because there are only two Costa Rica members in this group, the data suggest an interesting and mixed pattern. Of the seven politicians, four spent anywhere from 49% to 98% less after alternating to the PR tier in 2000. In contrast three candidates, two of whom are Costa Rica members, spent from 5% to 33% more. Finally, Pattern C shows those who reverted to the PR tier after two elections in the SMD tier. While seven of the 12 spent less in the 2003 election, ve reported an increase after shifting to the PR tier. Interestingly, two of these cases represent members in Costa Rica arrangements. Patterns B and C thus provide limited support for the notion that there is a discernible difference between both groups. The analysis of politicians levels of expenditures in Japans new election system presents a complex picture. Comparisons between Costa Rica members and non-members suggest that general expectations about the effects of tier alternation on costs do not appear to hold for many of the Costa Rica participants across the span of three elections: many of these participants reported higher expenditures despite rotating to the PR tier. One explanation is that

table 1 Total Spending and Change in Spending for LDP Members ( in millions)
Total Spending Name Pattern A: SMD-PR-SMD Watanabe Hiromichi* Fujii Takao* Arai Hiroyuki* Omi Koji* Hamada Yasukazu* Matsushima Midori Takatori Osamu1 Sakamoto Goji Hayashida Takeshi Pattern B: SMD-PR-PR Nakayama Toshio*1 Yanagimoto Takuji Matsushita Tadahiro* Miyazawa Kiichi1 Kurata Masatoshi Hayashi Shonosuke Tsushima Kyoichi Pattern C: SMD-SMD-PR Futada Yuji Morioka Masahiro Kawai Katsuyuki Kojima Toshio* Shindo Yuji Nishikawa Koya Kamei Yoshiyuki Fujimoto Takao Kaneta Eiko Yashiro Eita Miyajima Daisuke Suzuki Issei* 1996 2000 2003 Change 19962000 Amount 47.7 24.9 16.7 19.4 5.1 8.0 60.9 46.6 88.8 13.9 9.9 10.6 187.1 21.6 16.8 31.2 47.7 48.6 29.7 4.0 2.9 9.9 10.3 21.3 18.1 10.7 115.6 52.5 % 176 23 20 9 8 16 60 66 68 33 9 5 49 57 62 98 50 47 40 26 7 10 13 15 18 20 83 84 Change 200003 Amount 2.7 51.7 19.4 27.3 2.0 25.4 6.2 34.5 72.4 34.3 3.8 172.3 23.4 0.4 27.7 9.9 97.9 76.4 9.9 42.1 15.1 19.0 39.9 11.6 30.4 0.8 25.1 % 4 28 24 10 3 37 18 59 63 161 3 228 14 3 73 95 221 102 34 15 36 52 12 238 3 72

27.1 74.8 72.1 108.1 133.0 184.7 85.4 102.1 82.7 226.2 245.6 272.9 63.0 68.1 70.1 51.7 43.7 69.1 101.3 40.4 34.2 70.7 24.1 58.6 130.6 41.8 114.2 41.7 55.6 21.3 112.4 122.3 126.1 237.4 248.0 75.7 379.1 192.0 168.6 38.1 16.5 16.9 27.3 10.5 38.2 31.7 0.5 10.4 94.6 102.5 74.5 15.5 41.4 96.8 82.4 138.2 102.0 53.9 140.1 62.2 142.3 44.4 151.1 74.7 104.2 19.5 29.4 44.3 86.9 102.0 72.1 53.1 116.9 77.0 83.9 95.5 43.2 12.8 24.5 23.7 9.7 34.8

SOURCES: Kanpo and Koho, 19962003. NOTE: * Costa Rica; 1 son replaced father in 2003 lower house election; missing data. Table includes only LDP members who did not change parties from 19962003 and who changed tiers at least once.



Costa Rica politicians were anticipating having to alternate back to the SMD tier in the subsequent election and thus spent more funds to maintain a strong personal presence in the single-member constituency.

Costa Rica Arrangements and Contingent Factors

This section pursues a second avenue to consider the development and consequences of Costa Rica arrangements in the context of the above analysis by relying on eldwork and interviews with Japanese politicians. This approach helps explain some contingent factors that shape particular cases, including the circumstances that mandated use of a Costa Rica system or the specic campaign strategies that shaped year-to-year expenditure levels. The case detailed here highlights the complex contingent factors that can shape the electoral environment and the nature of the Costa Rica arrangement. Yoneda Kenzo is in a Costa Rica arrangement with Suzuki Issei in Kanagawa Prefecture, an industrial region just south of Tokyo. Understanding how this particular arrangement evolved begins with the pivotal role of Yoneda, who was one of the main catalysts. A former prefectural assembly member, Yoneda was elected to the lower house of the Diet in 1993. Like many other politicians during this time, Yoneda left the LDP for the NFP after that election. When he switched parties, Yoneda inadvertently placed himself in competition with another competitor, Tanaka Keishu. Tanaka had also switched to the NFP after the 1993 election. With both politicians attempting to secure the party nomination for the same district, party leaders agreed that Tanaka would compete in the SMD tier and Yoneda on the PR list. The evolution of this particular Costa Rica arrangement appeared to affect the general campaign strategies adopted by both politicians. Tanaka did not seek diffuse support in the single-member district but instead sought to strengthen his personal reputation and koenkai among potential and existing supporters. His vote-gathering efforts relied upon close connections with labor unions cultivated since his days in the prefectural assembly. Tanakas main challenger from the LDP was Suzuki Issei, a previous member of Kanagawas prefectural assembly. As with Tanaka, Suzukis vote-gathering strategy was to bolster his support organization in the ward where voters had elected him to the prefectural assembly. From the outset of his political career, Suzuki had offered various forms of recreational activities to his supporters. He explained: Every year I sponsor a softball competition, a owerviewing party in the spring, and a summer festival. I also take the womens group on a bus trip to a park and ower garden. I also publish about ve newsletters every year to keep supporters informed of my activities.23 Suzukis
23. Author interview with Suzuki Issei, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, May 24, 2002.



efforts to unseat Tanaka at the national level were consistent with previous votegathering strategies developed when Suzuki was a local politician, although the level of competition between the two was particularly erce. The results of the 1996 election proved to be particularly fortunate for two of the politicians just mentioned. Tanaka easily defeated Suzuki with 81,289 to 58,732 votes. Likewise, Yoneda easily won the PR seat. Suzuki was the major loser. After the 1996 election, the next major development affecting the dynamics of this Costa Rica arrangement occurred in 1997. Although most observers expected Yoneda and Tanaka to switch tiers in the following election, Yoneda decided to leave the opposition in 1997 and switch back to the LDP.24 Support for Yonedas entry into the LDP was limited to senior party ofcials. Leaders of the LDP prefectural chapter in Kanagawa, however, had reservations about Yonedas motives and opted to back Suzuki Isseis request for a rematch against Tanaka. Suzukis loss to Tanaka in 1996 had forced prefectural party leaders of the LDP to compromise with senior party members in Tokyo. A Costa Rica arrangement proved to be the most workable solution between the contending camps. In an ironic twist of events, Yoneda and Suzuki had gone from being interparty rivals in the last election to Costa Rica partners. Moreover, Yoneda and Tanaka, who had been partners, suddenly became rivals. With all three politicians focused on their short-term survival needs, the campaign strategies they employed from 1996 on differed little from their previous efforts. In addition, electoral cooperation between Yoneda and Suzuki proved impossible to realize, given their long history of animosity. Kanagawa Prefectures largest newspaper had quoted both Yoneda and Suzuki as claiming that their Costa Rica arrangement was going just newith Yoneda saying he was campaigning as if he were competing in the SMD tier himself.25 The reality was very different from the image marketed to the public. In fact, Suzuki quickly debunked the newspaper report: Of course, those werent our true feelings. Actually, I received no help whatsoever from Yoneda. He betrayed the LDP when he left the rst time, so how could we trust him to help my position? Apparently, the feelings were mutual. Yonedas local ofcials also expressed a dislike for Costa Rica arrangements in general, asserting that most tended to bolster intraparty conict rather than cooperation.26 Given the peculiarities of this Costa Rica arrangement, Suzuki, Yoneda, and Tanaka had to fend for themselves in efforts to secure potential victory. These efforts proved to be costly in time and resources. In particular, Suzuki faced a
24. See Yomiuri Shimbun [Yomiuri News] (Tokyo), September 21, 1997, p. 3; and ibid., September 9, 1997, p. 5. 25. Kanagawa Shimbun [Kanagawa News], December 14, 1999. 26. Personal communications with Yonedas office staff, Yokohama, May 24, 2002.



gure 2 Yoneda, Suzuki, and Tanakas Total Expenses, 19902003

SOURCES: Kanpo and Kanagawa Koho [Kanagawa Prefectural Bulletin], 19902003. NOTE: * year when lower house elections occurred.

difcult rematch against Tanaka and could not count on any cooperation from the Yoneda camp. Tanaka aimed to widen his winning margin over Suzuki, which would further help him ward off a possible future challenge from Yoneda. According to Tanaka, this strategy required devoting considerable effort and resources to his koenkai as well as keeping close connections with other local politicians and the labor unions.27 No wonder Tanaka, Suzuki, and Yoneda reported higher levels of expenditure in 2000 than in 1996. As Tanaka and Suzuki geared up for a rematch, Yoneda had been busy campaigning as if he were an SMD-based candidate, making frequent speeches and building a patronage network with other local politicians. His expenses likewise increased considerably despite his maintaining a PR seat for two elections. The main reason for the heightened spending levels was that Yonedas alternation agreement required him to switch to the SMD tier in the next election, which meant that he would risk defeat at Tanakas hands. Examining the three politicians spending patterns illuminates the incentives behind their choices of where to spend money. Figure 2 documents the major trends in total expenditures from 19902003. Although Tanaka spent more than Yoneda and Suzuki in 1995, Suzuki spent more than Tanaka did in 1996. After 1996, however, Tanaka spent more than Suzuki did for each year until 2003. With the three angling to improve their prospects in the 2000 election and beyond, it is not surprising their expenditures uctuated considerably during this period.
27. Author interview with Tanaka Keishu, Tokyo, June 14, 2002.



The politicians spending levels were designed to secure their place in the 2000 lower house election. In that race Tanaka triumphed over Suzuki again, defeating him by 128,010 to 70,343 votes. Despite the lack of cooperation with the Yoneda camp, Suzuki estimated that he received 8,000 votes from Yonedas supporters in the SMD tier, although this was not enough to change the ultimate outcome.28 At the same time, Yoneda celebrated another victory on the PR list. Although his high party list ranking assured his victory, Yoneda still outspent Tanaka and Suzuki on several occasions after 1990. The reason for this was clear: Yoneda had to alternate back to the SMD tier in the next election and face a difcult reelection against Tanaka. He could avoid this scenario only if he died, retired, or declined the LDP party nomination for the district. With none of the three politicians changing tiers between the 1996 and 2000 elections, their specic circumstances and incentives to spend more money can be better understood. Suzuki struggled two times against Tanaka without any assistance from the Yoneda camp. Tanaka worked to build his personal reputation not only to defeat Suzuki but also to ward off a future challenge from Yoneda. The formidable role of a high-quality opponent proved to be the major factor for why Suzuki spent more in 2000 than in 1996. Like Suzuki, Yonedas particular circumstances also reect his increased spending. Although Yoneda would remain on the PR list after he changed to the LDP in 1997, he spent considerably more partly in anticipation of an alternation to the SMD tier. This particular arrangement nally ended before the 2003 election. Yoneda decided to pursue elective ofce in another prefecture because he believed his reelection prospects would be better. By August 2003, he had made it known to other members in the LDP that he did not want to risk alternation to the SMD tier and face defeat by Tanaka. Yoneda and the LDP agreed to void the Costa Rica arrangement, but he had to leave Kanagawa for a neighboring prefecture and subsequently lost to an incumbent with a strong support organization.29 With the arrangement no longer in effect, party leaders in Kanagawa did not give Suzuki a high ranking on the party list, which helped to frustrate his bid for the lower house. The nal indicator of bad luck for this cast of characters was Tanakas defeat by a new LDP candidate in the 2005 election. This case highlights many of the contingent factors that shaped the dynamics of this Costa Rica arrangement as well as the levels of campaign spending reported for each politician. The high level of competition to win a seat in the SMD tier appeared to encourage politicians use of support groups as well as large campaign war chests. Interestingly, expenditure amounts uctuated considerably from year to year despite the fact that none of the politicians changed tiers from the rst to the second election. In this context, contingent
28. Suzuki interview. 29. Author interview with Ubukata Yukio, Tokyo, January 29, 2003.



factors such as those evident in this case appear likely to have shaped the empirical results reported above. Additional case studies of specic electoral districts might further explain some of the heterogeneity in expenditure levels for politicians in Costa Rica arrangements. Studies of Costa Rica arrangements face an uncertain future because many of the original factors that supported their creation are in ux. Since the breakup of the NFP in 1998 the party systemwith the Democratic Party of Japan as the main opposition partyhas been relatively stable, reducing the need for party leaders to forge additional arrangements. Should the party system destabilize in the future, perhaps the use of Costa Rica arrangements will be renewed. At the same time, many of the current arrangements are losing their effectiveness in securing dual victories for the LDP, prompting party leaders to reconsider their support for new or existing arrangements. Since the 2003 election, party leaders in Tokyo have stated that they will no longer support the creation of new Costa Rica arrangements. According to their proposal, pure PR candidates can only compete for a maximum of two terms of ofce on the list tier.30 At the same time, the leaders have decided not to award Costa Rica candidates who lose the SMD race a spot on the PR list in the next election. Finally, they set an age limit of 73 for all of the LDPs PRbased representatives. Many of these changes were evident in the election held in 2005. That same year Prime Minister Koizumi decided to call a snap election of the lower house after the upper house of the Diet failed to pass postal privatization bills, a centerpiece of his reform efforts since he assumed the premiership in 2001. Earlier, the bill had narrowly passed in the lower housealthough a total of 37 members from Koizumis party abstained or voted against the bill. When the snap election was called, the LDP refused to ofcially nominate the dissenters as LDP candidates, forcing them to campaign as independents or change party afliations. The decision by Koizumi and the LDP to deny party nominations to dissenting members contributed to the dissolution of one of the longest surviving Costa Rica arrangements since Japan adopted a new electoral system in 1994. Before the events of the 2005 election, Fujii Takao of the lower house and his Costa Rica partner had never failed in their bids for reelection. However, when Takao voted against the postal reform bills, he was not allowed to run as an LDP candidate on the PR list. His only option was to run as an independent in the SMD tier against his former Costa Rica partner, which proved to be unfortunate for Fujiis efforts to remain a Diet member. The 2005 election also signaled the end of several of the remaining Costa Rica arrangements. The LDPs earlier decision to enact an age limit for the PR
30. For details of the proposal, see Asahi Shimbun [Asahi News], February 27, 2003.



tier contributed to the retirement of two politiciansMasuda Toshio and Nakamura Shozaburo. In the next election, another retirement for age reasons is expected. Unless the LDP decides to allow new arrangements to form, the Costa Rica practice may face virtual extinction. To this extent, the longevity of informal rules may depend not only on their continuing effectiveness but also on how much the party organization wishes to centralize decisions over the placement of its candidates.

With more and more countries using some form of mixed electoral rules, it is important to examine the role and interactions between informal and formal mechanisms to evaluate the political consequences of such systems. The myriad rules that link the SMD and PR components provide a hospitable environment for the strategic machinations of political actors to ourish in. Informal practices serve as a means for parties and politicians to win votes and seats and even to circumvent the intended effects of formal rules. As formal rules and informal practices can complicate the political consequences of electoral rule change, their interaction warrants additional study. In Japan the formal rules encouraged the evolution of informal norms Costa Rica arrangementsas a means for LDP party leaders and politicians to solve nomination issues and adjust to new incentives generated by the mixed rules. Although the number of empirical cases examined here was relatively small, it seems clear that these arrangements had a signicant impact on politicians expenditure levels. Many of the Costa Rica candidates reported increased expenditures despite alternating to the PR tier. It is possible that this informal practice weakens the expected effect of the PR tier of reducing campaign costs. However, the results of the case study suggest that other contingent factors exist including the level of political competition, which might also explain some of the heterogeneity in expenditure levels. The case of Japan highlights the unintentional consequences that can emerge when political reformers introduce new electoral systems. When mixed electoral systems allow politicians and parties to use dual or pure PR candidacies, the creation of informal norms such as Costa Rica arrangements can become critical to electoral success. The application of informal norms can also help political actors reduce the level of uncertainty generated by the new system. In Japan, the alternation system provided a means for the LDP to solve nomination issues surrounding the advent of the SMD tier. This study of Costa Rica arrangements likewise reveals that the consequences of electoral rule changes are a product of not only formal rules but also of interactions with the party system in a given country. The dominant position of the LDP, with its large base of incumbents, encouraged the informal



practice to develop in order to solve conicts between politicians over party nominations. The need for politicians to preserve their geographical bases is also the product of campaign strategies devised under the ancien rgime, including the use of personal support groups and a high yen for spending. In countries without a history of a dominant political party system such as we nd in Japan, the strategic behavior of elitesand their ability to devise informal norms of behavioris less likely to complicate the political consequences of a new electoral system.