To assess the outlook for Japanese-U.S. relations it is essential to understand the domestic political changes underway and see where they are likely to lead. The December 1976 House of Representatives election and the July 1977 House of Councillors election have reduced the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) seats in the Diet very close to the opposition level. Along with this neck-and-neck race between government and opposition is a new trend toward even greater party fragmentation, a reflection of the increasing differentiation of publics and values. The major effect of these developments has been to destroy completely the pattern of politics that has obtained since 1955.