To the outside observer, the character and dynamics of Japan’s political parties and Diet (National Assembly) are often obscure. This volume is an invaluable description of party politics in Japan, and a unique analysis of the influence that a changing balance of power has had upon the functioning of the Diet. The book covers: the party system and how it has changed since 1955; the electoral systems for the Representatives and Councillors in the Diet. An extensive analysis of the Diet’s internal governance; a discussion of the influence on the Diet’s functioning and role of the arrival of "near parity" between the governing and opposition parties. The book is based on numerous interviews with Japanese politicians, journalists and bureaucrats, as well as extensive discussions with Japanese political scientists.