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As the society becomes more urban, more affluent, and more middle class, it becomes increasingly difficult for any party, under the present Japanese electoral system, to maintain the support of a majority of the voting public. The direction of Japanese social change offers little reason to believe that the LDP will be able to reverse substantially the downward trend in its electoral support and recover its erstwhile position of unchallengeable dominance. But other factors suggest that the party's decline may be bottoming out.

Abegglen and Thomas M. Hout, "Facing Up to the Trade Gap with Japan," Foreign Affairs, Vol 57, No. I (Fall 1978), pp. 146-68. 7. [20] The New York Times, July 24, 1978. [TWO] Domestic Politics and Japanese Foreign Policy Gerald L. Curtis This chapter is concerned with an analysis of japanese domestic political trends and their implications for foreign policy. Is the Liberal Democratic party (LOP) likely to lose power, and if so, what kind of government is likely to replace single-party LOP rule?

This continuing close relationship with the Gakkai reflects both the party's strength and its limitations. Despite the formal split between party and religion, the KMT is able to mobilize for its election campaigns a religious organization that claims a membership of some seven million families. On the other hand, Soka Gakkai membership is largely confined to urban areas and is no longer increasing rapidly, and the KMT's efforts to transform itself [3 7] JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES into what Japanese call a "national party" (kokumin seito), as contrasted with a class or religious party, are at least in part the result of its having largely exhausted potential Gakkai-based support.

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