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If the glue which has held the LDP together all these years has been political power, an LOP loss of its Diet majority might encourage some LDP members to bolt the party and provide the numbers necessary to bring a centrist coalition (and themselves) to power. Because of the seniority system that regulates the recruitment of LOP Diet men into cabinet and high party positions, some younger members of the party might try to seize the opportunity provided by the LOP's loss of its Diet majority to move into high office quickly by joining in coalition with opposition groups.

7 Only in the 19 58 election did the JSP run more candidates than the number necessary to secure a Diet majority. The steady decline in its popular vote has forced it to reduce the number of endorsed party candidates, creating a [32] DOMESTIC POLITICS AND JAPANESE FOREIGN POLICY situation in which only the LOP runs enough candidates to obtain a Diet majority. The JSP has been beset by a series of election defeats, factional battles, party defections and ideological struggles that have left it demoralized and in disarray.

In the event, therefore, that the LOP were to find itself short of a majority, it might try to entice one of the small moderate opposition parties to join the cabinet. The New Liberal Club might find it difficult to join such a government because of its newness and the need of its leaders to demonstrate to the public that their motives for leaving the [44] DOMESTIC POLITICS AND JAPANESE FOREIGN POLICY LOP were "sincere" and not just a gambit for power. The Democratic Socialist party, on the other hand, might be drawn into such a coalition, believing that it could gain public support by demonstrating a greater sense of "responsibility" than other progressive parties, and obtain for itself the role of a crucial swing party able to make or break the LOP-dominated government.

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