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1946 Japanese general election

General election in Japan held in 1946

Top 3 1946 Japanese general election related articles

1946 Japanese general election

← 1942 10 April 1946 1947 →

All 466 seats to the House of Representatives of Japan
234 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Ichirō Hatoyama Chūji Machida Tetsu Katayama
Party Liberal Progressive Socialist
Seats won 148 110 96
Popular vote 14,082,575 11,232,610 10,069,907
Percentage 25.4% 20.3% 18.2%

  Fourth party Fifth party
Leader Sanehiko Yamamoto Kyuichi Tokuda
Party Cooperative Communist
Seats won 45 6
Popular vote 3,484,889 2,135,757
Percentage 6.3% 3.8%

House of Representatives conformation

Prime Minister before election

Kijūrō Shidehara

Prime Minister-designate

Shigeru Yoshida

General elections were held in Japan on 10 April 1946, the first after World War II. Voters had one, two or three votes, depending on how many MPs were elected from their constituency. The result was a victory for the Liberal Party, which won 148 of the 464 seats.[1] Voter turnout was 72.1 percent.

1946 Japanese general election Intro articles: 4


Prime Minister Kijūrō Shidehara, who had been appointed by the Emperor in October 1945, dissolved the House of Representatives in December 1945. Shidehara had been working with Allied occupation commander Douglas MacArthur to implement a new constitution and other political reforms.

In the months following the war, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association caucus broke up and three major political parties emerged in the Diet, loosely based around the major parties that stood in the 1937 election prior to the war. The Liberal Party was mainly composed of former Rikken Seiyūkai members, while the Progressive Party was mainly composed of former Rikken Minseitō members and the Socialist Party was mainly composed of former Shakai Taishūtō members.

This was the first time Japanese women were allowed to vote. 39 women were elected to office, the largest number elected until the 2005 elections. On the other hand, Taiwanese and Koreans in Japan had their rights to vote and to run for office suspended.

Following the election, there was a brief attempt to keep the Shidehara cabinet alive by having Shidehara join the Progressive Party, which the other major parties opposed. The Liberals and Progressives agreed to form a government under Liberal leader Ichiro Hatoyama on 2 May, but Hatoyama was promptly purged on 4 May and a new government formed under Foreign Minister Shigeru Yoshida, who officially became Prime Minister on 22 May.

1946 Japanese general election Background articles: 13


Party Votes % Seats
Liberal Party 14,082,575 25.4 148
Japan Progressive Party 11,232,610 20.3 110
Japan Socialist Party 10,069,907 18.2 96
Japan Cooperative Party 3,484,889 6.3 45
Japanese Communist Party 2,135,757 3.8 6
Other parties 6,692,357 12.0 33
Independents 7,750,784 14.0 26
Total valid votes 55,448,879 100 464
Invalid/blank ballots 482,000
Total ballots 28,582,175 100 464
Source: Nohlen et al.


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume II, p381 ISBN 0-19-924959-8
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