Liberal Democratic Party (Japan)

Summary

The Liberal Democratic Party (自由民主党, Jiyū-Minshutō), frequently abbreviated to LDP or Jimintō (自民党), is a major conservative[14] and Japanese nationalist[15] political party in Japan.

Liberal Democratic Party
自由民主党
Jiyū-Minshutō
AbbreviationLDP
Jimintō
PresidentFumio Kishida
Vice PresidentTarō Asō
Secretary-GeneralToshimitsu Motegi
Founders
Founded15 November 1955; 68 years ago (1955-11-15)
Merger of
Headquarters11–23, Nagatachō 1-chome, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-8910, Japan
NewspaperJiyu Minshu[1]
Student wingLDP Students Division[2]
Youth wingLDP Youth [ja]
MembershipIncrease 1,136,445 (2021 est.)[3]
Ideology
Political positionRight-wing[A][4]
International affiliationAsia Pacific Democrat Union
Colours
  •   Red (official)[a][5]
  •   Green (customary)[b]
Slogan"To a new Japan with the voice of the region."[c][6]
Anthem"We"[d][7]
Councillors
115 / 248
Representatives
255 / 465
Prefectures[8]
1,301 / 2,644
Municipalities[8]
2,137 / 29,135
Party flag
Website
  • Japanese
  • www.jimin.jp
  • English
  • www.jimin.jp/english/ Edit this at Wikidata

^ A: The Liberal Democratic Party is a big-tent conservative party (see factions table below).[9][10] The LDP has been described as centre-right,[11] but the LDP also has far-right[e][12] and ultraconservative[13] factions, including members belonging to the ultranationalist Nippon Kaigi.

The LDP was formed in 1955 as a merger of two conservative parties: the Liberal Party and the Japan Democratic Party. Since its foundation, the LDP has been in power almost continuously—a period called the 1955 System—except between 1993 and 1994, and again from 2009 to 2012. From 1955 to 2009, the LDP oversaw Japan's recovery from World War II, the country's economic miracle and its subsequent stagnation.[16] After a brief interregnum, the LDP regained control of the government in a landslide victory at the 2012 election.[17] After the 2021 and 2022 elections it holds 261 seats in the House of Representatives and 119 seats in the House of Councillors, and in coalition with Komeito since 1999, a governing majority in both houses.

The LDP is often described as a big tent party; however it is also described as being right-wing and conservative.[18] Although lacking a cohesive political ideology, the party's platform has historically supported increased defense spending and, since the 21st century, maintaining close relations with its Indo-Pacific allies to counter the rise of China as a superpower.[19] The party's history and internal composition has been characterized by intense factionalism among its members since its emergence in 1955.[20][21] The incumbent prime minister and party president is Fumio Kishida.

History

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Beginnings

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Launching convention, 15 November 1955

The LDP was formed in 1955[22] as a merger between two of Japan's political parties, the Liberal Party (自由党, Jiyutō, 1950–1955, led by Taketora Ogata) and the Japan Democratic Party (日本民主党, Nihon Minshutō, 1954–1955, led by Ichirō Hatoyama), both conservative parties, as a united front against the then popular Japan Socialist Party (日本社会党, Nipponshakaitō), now the Social Democratic Party (社会民主党, Shakaiminshutō). The party won the following elections, and Japan's first conservative government with a majority was formed by 1955. It would hold majority government until 1993.[23]

The LDP began with reforming Japan's international relations, ranging from entry into the United Nations, to establishing diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union. Its leaders in the 1950s also made the LDP the main government party, and in all the elections of the 1950s, the LDP won the majority vote, with the only other opposition coming from left-wing politics, made up of the Japan Socialist Party and the Japanese Communist Party.

From the 1950s to the early 1970s, the United States Central Intelligence Agency spent millions of dollars to aid the LDP against leftist parties such as the Socialists and the Communists,[24][25] although this was not revealed until the mid-1990s when it was exposed by The New York Times.[26] Details remain classified, while available documents show connections to prime ministers Nobusuke Kishi and Eisaku Satō from the Satō–Kishi–Abe family.[27][28][29]

1960s to 1990s

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For the majority of the 1960s, the LDP (and Japan) were led by Eisaku Satō, beginning with the hosting of the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and ending in 1972 with Japanese neutrality in the Vietnam War and with the beginning of the Japanese asset price bubble. By the end of the 1970s, the LDP went into its decline, where even though it held the reins of government many scandals plagued the party, while the opposition (now joined with the Kōmeitō (1962–1998)) gained momentum.

In 1976, in the wake of the Lockheed bribery scandals, a handful of younger LDP Diet members broke away and established their own party, the New Liberal Club (Shin Jiyu Kurabu). A decade later, however, it was reabsorbed by the LDP.[30]

By the late 1970s, the Japan Socialist Party, the Japanese Communist Party, and the Komeito along with the international community used major pressure to have Japan switch diplomatic ties from Taiwan (Republic of China) to the People's Republic of China.

In 1983, the LDP was a founding member of the International Democrat Union.[31]

 
Liberal Democratic Hall Bldg., Headquarters of the LDP in Tokyo

The LDP managed to consistently win elections for over three decades, and the LDP's decades in power allowed it to establish a highly stable process of policy formation. This process would not have been possible if other parties had secured parliamentary majorities. LDP strength was based on an enduring, although not unchallenged, coalition of big business, small business, agriculture, professional groups, and other interests. Elite bureaucrats collaborated closely with the party and interest groups in drafting and implementing policy. In a sense, the party's success was a result not of its internal strength but of its weakness. It lacked a strong, nationwide organization or consistent ideology with which to attract voters. Its leaders were rarely decisive, charismatic, or popular. But it functioned efficiently as a locus for matching interest group money and votes with bureaucratic power and expertise. This arrangement resulted in corruption, but the party could claim credit for helping to create economic growth and a stable, middle-class Japan. [citation needed]

Despite winning the 1986 general election by a landslide, by the end of 1980s, the LDP started to suffer setbacks in elections due to unpopular policies on trade liberalisation and tax, as well as a scandal involving their leader Sōsuke Uno and the Recruit scandal. The party lost its majority in the House of Councillors for the first time in 34 years in the 1989 election.[32]

Out of power

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The LDP managed to hold on to power in 1990 Japanese general election despite some losses. In June 1993, 10 members of the party's liberal-conservative faction split to form the New Party Sakigake.[33] The end of the postwar miracle economy, the Japanese asset price bubble and other reasons such as the recruit scandal led to the LDP losing its majority in 1993 Japanese general election held in July of that year.

Seven opposition parties – including several formed by LDP dissidents – formed the Hosokawa government headed by Japan New Party leader and LDP dissident Morihiro Hosokawa, who became the Prime Minister preceded by Kiichi Miyazawa. However, the LDP was still far and away the largest party in the House of Representatives, with well over 200 seats; no other individual party crossed the 80-seat mark. Yohei Kono became the president of the LDP preceded by Kiichi Miyazawa, he was the first non-prime minister LDP leader as the leader of the opposition.

In 1994, the Japan Socialist Party and New Party Sakigake left the ruling coalition, joining the LDP in the opposition. The remaining members of the coalition tried to stay in power as the minority Hata Cabinet under the leadership of Tsutomu Hata, but this failed when the LDP and the Socialists, bitter rivals for 40 years, formed a majority coalition. The Murayama Cabinet was dominated by the LDP, but it allowed Socialist Tomiichi Murayama to occupy the Prime Minister's chair until 1996 when the LDP's Ryutaro Hashimoto took over.

1996–2009

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In the 1996 election, the LDP made some gains but was still 12 seats short of a majority. However, no other party could possibly form a government, and Hashimoto formed a solidly LDP minority government. Through a series of floor-crossings, the LDP regained its majority within a year.

The party was practically unopposed until 1998 when the opposition Democratic Party of Japan was formed. This marked the beginning of the opposing parties' gains in momentum, especially in the 2003 and 2004 Parliamentary Elections, that would not slow for another 12 years.[citation needed]

In the dramatically paced 2003 House of Representatives elections, the LDP won 237 seats, while the DPJ won 177 seats. In the 2004 House of Councillors elections, in the seats up for grabs, the LDP won 49 seats and the DPJ 50, though in all seats (including those uncontested) the LDP still had a total of 114. Because of this electoral loss, former Secretary-General Shinzo Abe turned in his resignation, but Party President Koizumi merely demoted him in rank, and he was replaced by Tsutomu Takebe.[citation needed]

On 10 November 2003, the New Conservative Party (Hoshu Shintō) was absorbed into the LDP, a move which was largely because of the New Conservative Party's poor showing in the 2003 general election. The LDP formed a coalition with the conservative Buddhist New Komeito (party founded by Soka Gakkai) from Obuchi Second shuffle Cabinet (1999–2000).[citation needed]

After a victory in the 2005 Japanese general election, the LDP held an absolute majority in the Japanese House of Representatives and formed a coalition government with the New Komeito Party. Shinzo Abe succeeded then-Prime Minister Junichirō Koizumi as the president of the party on 20 September 2006. The party suffered a major defeat in the election of 2007, however, and lost its majority in the upper house for the first time in its history.[citation needed]

The LDP remained the largest party in both houses of the Diet, until 29 July 2007, when the LDP lost its majority in the upper house.[34]

In a party leadership election held on 23 September 2007, the LDP elected Yasuo Fukuda as its president. Fukuda defeated Tarō Asō for the post, receiving 330 votes against 197 votes for Aso.[35][36] However Fukuda resigned suddenly in September 2008, and Asō became Prime Minister after winning the presidency of the LDP in a five-way election.

In the 2009 general election, the LDP was roundly defeated, winning only 118 seats—easily the worst defeat of a sitting government in modern Japanese history, and also the first real transfer of political power in the post-war era. Accepting responsibility for this severe defeat, Aso announced his resignation as LDP president on election night. Sadakazu Tanigaki was elected leader of the party on 28 September 2009,[37] after a three-way race, becoming only the second LDP leader who was not simultaneously prime minister.[citation needed]

2009–present

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The party's support continued to decline, with prime ministers changing rapidly, and in the 2009 House of Representatives elections the LDP lost its majority, winning only 118 seats, marking the only time they would be out of the majority other than a brief period in 1993.[38][39] Since that time, numerous party members have left to join other parties or form new ones, including Your Party (みんなの党, Minna no Tō),[citation needed] the Sunrise Party of Japan (たちあがれ日本, Tachiagare Nippon)[40] and the New Renaissance Party (新党改革, Shintō Kaikaku).[citation needed] The party had some success in the 2010 House of Councilors election, netting 13 additional seats and denying the DPJ a majority.[41][42] Abe became the president again in September 2012 after a five-way race. The LDP returned to power with its ally New Komeito after winning a clear majority in the lower house general election on 16 December 2012 after just over three years in opposition. Shinzo Abe became Prime Minister for the second time preceded by Yoshihiko Noda who was the leader of the DPJ.[43]

In July 2015, the party pushed for expanded military powers to fight in foreign conflict through Shinzo Abe and the support of Komeito.[44]

Yoshihide Suga took over from Shinzo Abe in September 2020 after a three-way race. After Suga declined to run for re-election, successor Fumio Kishida led the party to a victory in the October 2021 Japanese general election after a four-way race, defying expectations.[45]

Despite support dropping in 2022 after the assassination of Shinzo Abe over connections between various party members and the Unification Church, the party had a good showing in the 2023 Japanese unified local elections, winning over half of the 2260 prefectural assembly seats being contested and six governorship positions.[46]

On 18–19 January 2024, following a scandal involving failure to report and misuse of ¥600 million in campaign funds by members of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan's conservative Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyūkai and Shisuikai factions in violation of Japanese campaign finance and election law, three factions (Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyūkai, Shisuikai, in addition to PM Kishida's Kōchikai) all announced their intention to dissolve entirely in hopes of restoring public trust.[47][48] Several LDP lawmakers were indicted, including incumbent lawmakers Yasutada Ōno and Yaichi Tanigawa, who both resigned from the party following their indictments.[49]

Ideology and political stance

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The LDP is usually associated with conservatism,[14] Japanese nationalism[15] and being on the political right of the political spectrum.[50] The LDP has been described as a variety of disparate ideologies such as conservative-liberal,[51][52] liberal-conservative,[53][54][55] social-conservative,[56][57] ultranationalist,[58][59][60] and ultraconservative.[61][62] The party though has not espoused a well-defined, unified ideology or political philosophy, due to its long-term government, and has been described as a "catch-all" party.[10]

The LDP members hold a variety of positions that could be broadly defined as being to the right of main opposition parties. Many of its ministers, including current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida[63] and former Prime Ministers Yoshihide Suga,[64] and the late Shinzo Abe are/were affiliated with the parliamentary league of Nippon Kaigi, a far-right[65] traditionalist lobby group.[66] In Japanese politics, the convention is to classify the Liberal Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party as occupying the conservative and progressive ends of the ideological spectrum respectively, however this classification faces challenges, especially among younger generations, after the 1990s.[67]

The LDP could also be compared to the corporatist-inspired model of conservative parties, such as the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, in its relative openness towards economic interventionism, mixed market coordination and public expenditure, when compared to neoliberal orthodoxy.[68]

Historical

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In the case of the LDP administration under the 1955 System in Japan, their degree of economic control was stronger than that of Western conservative governments; it was also positioned closer to social democracy.[69] Since the 1970s, the oil crisis has slowed economic growth and increased the resistance of urban citizens to policies that favor farmers.[70] To maintain its dominant position, the LDP sought to expand party supporters by incorporating social security policies and pollution measures advocated by opposition parties.[70] It was also historically closely positioned to corporate statism.[71][72]

2021 manifesto

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During the 2021 general election, the party released the LDP policy manifesto, titled "Create a new era together with you", which included among other things support for:[73][74][75]

  • Wealth redistribution to revive the Japanese economy and empowering the middle class
  • Tax breaks for corporations willing to raise wages
  • Advance administrative reforms to facilitate digitalization
  • High investment in science and technology and increased funds for university research
  • Secure robust supply chains for critical materials, such as rare earths
  • Continued development of nuclear fusion power generation, and expansion of renewable energy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050
  • Reaching UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals targets
  • Offer subsidies for enterprises if they move into new industries
  • Electronic COVID-19 vaccine passports
  • Expanding support for small and medium businesses hit by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Constitutional amendments, including the proposed Japanese constitutional referendum to formalize the current existence of the Japan Self-Defense Forces in Article 9 of the Constitution and creating an emergency response clause
  • Raising Japan's defense budget from the current 1% to "two percent or more" of gross domestic product (GDP) and enhancing Japan's defense capabilities
  • Advance understanding of LGBT rights, although the party is not in favor of same-sex marriage,[76] with 50% of its election candidates being "undecided" and those opposed largely outnumbering those in favor[77]
  • Acceptance of foreign workers and improving management to cover labor shortages
  • Support Taiwan's bid to join the CPTPP agreement and WHO observer status
  • Promoting further nuclear disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation

Structure

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At the apex of the LDP's formal organization is the president (総裁, sōsai), who can serve three[78] three-year terms. (The presidential term was increased from two years to three years in 2002 and from two to three terms in 2017). When the party has a parliamentary majority, the party president is the prime minister. The choice of party president is formally that of a party convention composed of Diet members and local LDP figures, but in most cases, they merely approved the joint decision of the most powerful party leaders. To make the system more democratic, Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda introduced a "primary" system in 1978, which opened the balloting to some 1.5 million LDP members. The process was so costly and acrimonious, however, that it was subsequently abandoned in favor of the old "smoke-filled room" method—so-called in allusion to the notion of closed discussions held in small rooms filled with tobacco smoke.

After the party president, the most important LDP officials are the Secretary-General (kanjicho), the chairmen of the LDP Executive Council (somukaicho), and of the Policy Affairs Research Council or "PARC" (政務調査会, seimu chōsakai).

Leadership

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As of 30 June 2024:[79]

Position Name House Faction
President Fumio Kishida Representatives None
Vice President Tarō Asō Representatives Asō (Shikōkai)
Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi Representatives Motegi (Heisei Kenkyūkai)
Chairperson, General Council Hiroshi Moriyama Representatives Moriyama (Kinmirai Seiji Kenkyūkai)
Chairperson, Policy Affairs Research Council Kisaburo Tokai Representatives None
Chairperson, Election Strategy Committee Yuko Obuchi Representatives None
Chairperson, Party Organization and Movement Headquarters Yasushi Kaneko Representatives None
Chairperson, Public Relations Headquarters Takuya Hirai Representatives None
Chairperson, Diet Affairs Committee Yasukazu Hamada Representatives None
Executive Acting Secretary-General Hiroshi Kajiyama Representatives None
Chairperson, General Assembly of Party Members of the House of Councillors Masakazu Sekiguchi Councillors Takeshita (Heisei Kenkyūkai)
Secretary-General for the LDP in the House of Councillors Masaji Matsuyama Councillors None

Factions

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Since the genesis of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1955, factions have existed, but they have changed over time. Despite this change, factions in the party today can be traced back to their 1955 roots, a testament to the stability and institutionalized nature of Liberal Democratic Party factions.[80] The party's history and internal composition have been characterized by intense factionalism ever since its emergence in 1955, with its parliamentary members currently split among six factions, each of which vies for influence in the party and the government.[21] The incumbent Prime Minister and party president, Fumio Kishida, was the leader of the now defunct Kōchikai faction from 2012 until his resignation in 2023.

Current factions in the LDP include:

Name Ideology Political position Leader Members
Right-wing Tarō Asō[81] 56
Conservatism Right-wing Toshimitsu Motegi[82] 53
  • Kinmirai Seiji Kenkyūkai
  • ?
? ? Hiroshi Moriyama[83] 8
Independent N/A 78

Membership

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The LDP had over 5.5 million party members in 1991.[84] By December 2017, membership had dropped to approximately one million members.[3]

Performance in national elections until 1993

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Election statistics show that, while the LDP had been able to secure a majority in the twelve House of Representatives elections from May 1958 to February 1990, with only three exceptions (December 1976, October 1979, and December 1983), its share of the popular vote had declined from a high of 57.8% in May 1958 to a low of 41.8% in December 1976, when voters expressed their disgust with the party's involvement in the Lockheed scandal.[citation needed] The LDP vote rose again between 1979 and 1990. Although the LDP won an unprecedented 300 seats in the July 1986 balloting, its share of the popular vote remained just under 50%. The figure was 46.2% in February 1990. Following the three occasions when the LDP found itself a handful of seats shy of a majority, it was obliged to form alliances with conservative independents and the breakaway New Liberal Club. In a cabinet appointment after the October 1983 balloting, a non-LDP minister, a member of the New Liberal Club, was appointed for the first time. On 18 July 1993, in lower house elections, the LDP fell so far short of a majority that it was unable to form a government.

In the upper house, the July 1989 election represented the first time that the LDP was forced into a minority position. In previous elections, it had either secured a majority on its own or recruited non-LDP conservatives to make up the difference of a few seats.

The political crisis of 1988–89 was testimony to both the party's strength and its weakness. In the wake of a succession of issues—the pushing of a highly unpopular consumer tax through the Diet in late 1988, the Recruit insider trading scandal, which tainted virtually all top LDP leaders and forced the resignation of Prime Minister Takeshita Noboru in April (a successor did not appear until June), the resignation in July of his successor, Uno Sōsuke, because of a sex scandal, and the poor showing in the upper house election—the media provided the Japanese with a detailed and embarrassing dissection of the political system. By March 1989, popular support for the Takeshita cabinet as expressed in public opinion polls had fallen to 9%. Uno's scandal, covered in magazine interviews of a "kiss and tell" geisha, aroused the fury of female voters.

Uno's successor, the eloquent if obscure Kaifu Toshiki, was successful in repairing the party's battered image. By January 1990, talk of the waning of conservative power and a possible socialist government had given way to the realization that, like the Lockheed affair of the mid-1970s, the Recruit scandal did not signal a significant change in who ruled Japan. The February 1990 general election gave the LDP, including affiliated independents, a comfortable, if not spectacular, majority: 275 of 512 total representatives.

In October 1991, Prime Minister Kaifu Toshiki failed to attain passage of a political reform bill and was rejected by the LDP, despite his popularity with the electorate. He was replaced as prime minister by Miyazawa Kiichi, a long-time LDP stalwart. Defections from the LDP began in the spring of 1992, when Hosokawa Morihiro left the LDP to form the Japan New Party. Later, in the summer of 1993, when the Miyazawa government also failed to pass political reform legislation, thirty-nine LDP members joined the opposition in a no-confidence vote. In the ensuing lower house election, more than fifty LDP members formed the Shinseitō and the Sakigake parties, denying the LDP the majority needed to form a government.

Election results

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Legislative results

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House of Representatives

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House of Representatives
Election Leader No. of
candidates
Seats Position Constituency votes PR Block votes Status
No. ± Share No. Share No. Share
1958 Nobusuke Kishi 413
289 / 467
61.8% 1st 22,976,846 57.80% Government
1960 Hayato Ikeda 399
300 / 467
  11 64.2%   1st 22,740,272 57.56% Government
1963 359
283 / 467
  17 60.5%   1st 22,423,915 54.67% Government
1967 Eisaku Satō 342
277 / 486
  6 56.9%   1st 22,447,838 48.80% Government
1969 328
288 / 486
  11 59.2%   1st 22,381,570 47.63% Government
1972 Kakuei Tanaka 339
271 / 491
  17 55.1%   1st 24,563,199 46.85% Government
1976 Takeo Miki 320
249 / 511
  22 48.7%   1st 23,653,626 41.78% Government
1979 Masayoshi Ōhira 322
248 / 511
  1 48.5%   1st 24,084,131 44.59% Government
1980 310
284 / 511
  36 55.5%   1st 28,262,442 47.88% Government
1983 Yasuhiro Nakasone 339
250 / 511
  34 48.9%   1st 25,982,785 45.76% LDP-NLC coalition
1986 322
300 / 512
  50 58.5%   1st 29,875,501 49.42% Government
1990 Toshiki Kaifu 338
275 / 512
  25 53.7%   1st 30,315,417 46.14% Government
1993 Kiichi Miyazawa 285
223 / 511
  52 43.6%   1st 22,999,646 36.62% Opposition
(until 1994)
LDP-JSP-NPS coalition
(since 1994)
1996 Ryutaro Hashimoto 355
239 / 500
  16 47.8%   1st 21,836,096 38.63% 18,205,955 32.76% LDP-SDP-NPS coalition
2000 Yoshirō Mori 337
233 / 480
  6 48.5%   1st 24,945,806 40.97% 16,943,425 28.31% LDP-Komeito-NCP coalition
2003 Junichiro Koizumi 336
237 / 480
  4 49.3%   1st 26,089,326 43.85% 20,660,185 34.96% LDP-Komeito coalition
2005 346
296 / 480
  59 61.6%   1st 32,518,389 47.80% 25,887,798 38.20% LDP-Komeito coalition
2009 Tarō Asō 326
119 / 480
  177 24.7%   2nd 27,301,982 38.68% 18,810,217 26.73% Opposition
2012 Shinzo Abe 337
294 / 480
  175 61.2%   1st 25,643,309 43.01% 16,624,457 27.79% LDP-Komeito coalition
2014 352
291 / 475
  3 61.2%   1st 25,461,427 48.10% 17,658,916 33.11% LDP-Komeito coalition
2017 332
284 / 465
  7 61.0%   1st 26,719,032 48.21% 18,555,717 33.28% LDP-Komeito coalition
2021 Fumio Kishida 338
259 / 465
  25 55.7%   1st 27,626,235 48.08% 19,914,883 34.66% LDP-Komeito coalition

House of Councillors

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House of Councillors
Election Leader Seats Nationwide[f] Prefecture Status
Total[g] Contested Number % Number %
1956 Ichirō Hatoyama
122 / 250
61 / 125
11,356,874 39.7% 14,353,960 48.4% Governing minority
1959 Nobusuke Kishi
132 / 250
71 / 125
12,120,598 41.2% 15,667,022 52.0% Governing majority
1962 Hayato Ikeda
142 / 250
69 / 125
16,581,637 46.4% 17,112,986 47.1% Governing majority
1965 Eisaku Satō
140 / 251
71 / 125
17,583,490 47.2% 16,651,284 44.2% Governing majority
1968
137 / 250
69 / 125
20,120,089 46.7% 19,405,546 44.9% Governing majority
1971
131 / 249
62 / 125
17,759,395 44.5% 17,727,263 44.0% Governing majority
1974 Kakuei Tanaka
126 / 250
62 / 125
23,332,773 44.3% 21,132,372 39.5% Governing majority
1977 Takeo Fukuda
125 / 249
63 / 125
18,160,061 35.8% 20,440,157 39.5% Governing minority
1980 Masayoshi Ōhira
135 / 250
69 / 125
23,778,190 43.3% 24,533,083 42.5% Governing majority
1983 Yasuhiro Nakasone
137 / 252
68 / 126
16,441,437 35.3% 19,975,034 43.2% Governing majority
1986
143 / 252
72 / 126
22,132,573 38.58% 26,111,258 45.07% Governing majority
1989 Sōsuke Uno
109 / 252
36 / 126
15,343,455 27.32% 17,466,406 30.70% Governing minority
1992 Kiichi Miyazawa
106 / 252
68 / 126
14,961,199 33.29% 20,528,293 45.23% Governing minority
(until 1993)
Minority
(1993–1994)
LDP-JSP-NPS governing majority
(since 1994)
1995 Yōhei Kōno
111 / 252
46 / 126
10,557,547 25.40% 11,096,972 27.29% LDP-JSP-NPS governing majority
1998 Ryutaro Hashimoto
102 / 252
44 / 126
14,128,719 25.17% 17,033,851 30.45% LDP–(Lib.Komeito) governing majority
(until 2000)
LDP–Komeito–NCP governing majority
(since 2000)
2001 Junichiro Koizumi
111 / 247
64 / 121
21,114,727 38.57% 22,299,825 41.04% LDP–Komeito–NCP governing majority
(until 2003)
LDP–Komeito governing majority
(since 2003)
2004
115 / 242
49 / 121
16,797,686 30.03% 19,687,954 35.08% LDP–Komeito governing majority
2007 Shinzo Abe
83 / 242
37 / 121
16,544,696 28.1% 18,606,193 31.35% LDP–Komeito governing minority
(until 2009)
Minority
(since 2009)
2010 Sadakazu Tanigaki
84 / 242
51 / 121
14,071,671 24.07% 19,496,083 33.38% Minority
(until 2012)
LDP–Komeito governing minority
(since 2012)
2013 Shinzo Abe
115 / 242
65 / 121
18,460,404 34.7% 22,681,192 42.7% LDP–Komeito governing majority
2016
121 / 242
56 / 121
20,114,833 35.9% 22,590,793 39.9% LDP–Komeito governing majority
2019
113 / 245
57 / 124
17,712,373 35.37% 20,030,330 39.77% LDP–Komeito governing majority
2022 Fumio Kishida
119 / 248
63 / 125
18,256,245 34.43% 20,603,298 38.74% LDP–Komeito governing majority

Logos

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Notes

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  1. ^ since 2017
  2. ^ Official colour before 2017; still used on the English website
  3. ^ "地域の声で、新たな日本へ。
    "Chiiki no koe de aratana nippon e"
  4. ^ "われら"
    "Ware-ra"
  5. ^ Some sources also assessed that the LDP was founded with funds from ultranationalist, and some sources refer to the LDP as far-right ultranationalist:
    • Matthew Pointon, ed. (2017). Across Asia With A Lowlander. Lulu.com. p. 12. ISBN 9780244043544. Ever since the culmination of the Second World War, the far right Liberal Democratic Party has firmly held the reins of power, with only a couple of minor interruptions.
    • "Beautiful Harmony: Political Project Behind Japan's New Era Name – Analysis". eurasia review. 16 July 2019. The shifting dynamics around the new era name (gengō 元号) offers an opportunity to understand how the domestic politics of the LDP's project of ultranationalism is shaping a new Japan and a new form of nationalism.
    • Margaret DiCanio PhD, ed. (2004). Encyclopedia of Violence. iUniverse. ISBN 9780595316526. In 1955, with funds from the ultranationalists, the conservatives merged the Liberal Party with the Democratic Party to form the Liberal Democratic Party (LPD), which effectively held the Japanese Communist Party in check.
  6. ^ From 1947 to 1980, 50 members were elected through a nationwide constituency, known as the "national block" (Plurality-at-large voting). It was replaced in 1983 by a proportional representation block with closed lists. In 2001, the PR block was reduced to 48 members with most open lists.
  7. ^ The Upper house is split in two classes, one elected every three years.

References

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    • Florian Coulmas, ed. (2023). Japanese Propriety, Past and Present: Disciplined Liberalism. Taylor & Francis. p. 88. ISBN 9781000885835. ... in Japan's post-war political discourse often supporting leftist and socialist positions opposed to the ruling right-wing Liberal Democratic Party, which has always been favoured by Washington.
    • "Japan's right-wing Liberal Democratic Party dominates parliamentary election". Business Insider. 10 July 2022. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
    • Shorrock, Tim (27 August 2019). "In a Major Shift, South Korea Defies Its Alliance With Japan". The Nation. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
    • Akito Okada, ed. (2022). Japan's School Curriculum for The 2020s: Politics, Policy, and Pedagogy. Springer Nature. p. 14. ISBN 9789811920769. In the case of Japan, the ideological basis of the right-wing LDP had almost no element of liberal (as in libertarian) thought, such as reliance on anti-nationalist liberalism and individualism, or vigilance against a centrally planned economy and welfare system.
    • Arve Hansen; Jo Inge Bekkevold; Kristen Nordhaug, eds. (2020). The Socialist Market Economy in Asia: Development in China, Vietnam and Laos. Springer Nature. p. 318. ISBN 9789811562488. Japan's economic miracle was largely formed under the leadership of the conservative right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), ...
    • Lam Peng Er; Purnendra Jain, eds. (2020). Japan's Foreign Policy in the Twenty-First Century: Continuity and Change. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 96. ISBN 9781498587969. The rising tide of hawkish nationalism and historical revisionism spearheaded by the right-wing LDP Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in recent decades seems to confirm the doubt.
    • Arthur Alexander (June 2018). "Expert Voices on Japan: Security, Economic, Social, and Foreign Policy Recommendations" (PDF). Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation.
    • Katsuyuki Hidaka, ed. (2016). Japanese Media at the Beginning of the 21st Century. Routledge. ISBN 9781134988778. Criticism of the unreservedly right-wing Liberal Democratic Party administration led by Abe Shinzō nevertheless remains strong. Together with advocating for changes to the constitution, the Abe administration has succeeded in passing ...
    • S. Carpenter, ed. (2011). Japan's Nuclear Crisis: The Routes to Responsibility. Springer. p. 113. ISBN 9780230363717. Kodama quashed all things he regarded as remotely communist and consistently supported the right-wing LDP.
    • J. A. A. Stockwin, ed. (2003). Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Japan. Routledge. p. 177. ISBN 9781136894886. ... and joined the Young Storm Society (Seirankai) of right-wing liberal democratic party (LDP) parliamentarians, ...
    • Joy Hendry, ed. (2003). Understanding Japanese Society. Routledge. pp. 219–220. ISBN 9781134502561.
    • Ronald P. Dore, ed. (1990). British Factory Japanese Factory: The Origins of National Diversity in Industrial Relations, With a New Afterword. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520024953. For nearly two decades the right-wing Liberal-Democratic Party has dominated Japanese politics with nearly two-thirds of Diet seats.
  5. ^ 日本に定着するか、政党のカラー [Will the colors of political parties settle in Japan?]. The Nikkei (in Japanese). Nikkei, Inc. 21 October 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
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  7. ^ 党歌・シンボル. jimin.jp. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  8. ^ a b Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, party membership statistics for chief executives and assembly members in prefectures and municipalities: Prefectural and local assembly members and governors/mayors by political party as of 31 December 2023
  9. ^ Ellington, Lucien (14 July 2009). Japan. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-1-59884-162-6.
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    • Ludger Helms (18 October 2013). Parliamentary Opposition in Old and New Democracies. Routledge. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-317-97031-6.
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    • "Overseas Business Risk - Japan". GOV.UK. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
    • Roger Blanpain; Michele Tiraboschi (2008). The Global Labour Market:From Globalization to Flexicurity. Kluwer Law International. p. 268. ISBN 978-90-411-2722-8.
    • Jeffrey Henderson; William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of Greek Language and Literature Jeffrey Henderson (11 February 2011). East Asian Transformation:On the Political Economy of Dynamism, Governance and Crisis. Taylor & Francis. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-136-84113-2.
    • Peter Davies; Derek Lynch (16 August 2005). The Routledge Companion to Fascism and the Far Right. Routledge. p. 236. ISBN 978-1-134-60952-9.
    • "Japan is having an election next month. Here's why it matters". Vox. 28 September 2017. Retrieved 8 July 2020. Abe's center-right Liberal Democratic Party (LDP),
  12. ^
    • Mark R. Mullins, ed. (2021). The Routledge Handbook of Japanese Politics. University of Hawaii Press. p. 94. ISBN 9780824890162. The first is provided by Yamatani Eriko, one of the darlings of Shinseiren and a person who represents the far right of the LDP.
    • "The Dangerous Impact of the Far-Right in Japan". Washington Square News. 15 April 2019. Another sign of the rise of the uyoku dantai's ideas is the growing power of the Nippon Kaigi. The organization is the largest far-right group in Japan and has heavy lobbying clout with the conservative LDP; 18 of the 20 members of Shinzo Abe's cabinet were once members of the group.
    • "Why Steve Bannon Admires Japan". The Diplomat. 22 June 2018. In Japan, populist and extreme right-wing nationalism has found a home within the political establishment.
    • Wesley Yee (January 2018). "Making Japan Great Again: Japan's Liberal Democratic Party as a Far Right Movement". The University of San Francisco.
    • "Japan's ruling party under fire over links to far-right extremists". The Guardian. 13 October 2014.
    • "For Abe, it will always be about the Constitution". The Japan Times. 4 July 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2020. Of those three victories, the first election in December 2012 was a rout of the leftist Democratic Party of Japan and it thrust the more powerful Lower House of Parliament firmly into the hands of the long-incumbent Liberal Democratic Party under Abe. The second election in December 2014 further normalized Japan's lurch to the far right, giving the ruling coalition a supermajority of 2/3 of the seats in the Lower House.
    • "Shinzo Abe? That's Not His Name, Says Japan's Foreign Minister". The New York Times. 22 May 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2020. Mr. Abe is strongly supported by the far right wing of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which hews to tradition and tends toward insularity.
    • Leonel Lim, Michael W. Apple, ed. (2016). The Strong State and Curriculum Reform: Assessing the politics and possibilities of educational change in Asia. Routledge. p. 167. ISBN 9781317579236. ... Far right LDP legislators led by Prime Minister (PM) Shinzo ̄ Abe demanded the withdrawal of the 1993 Ko ̄no Statement and attacked the ...
    • Alisa Gaunder, ed. (2011). Routledge Handbook of Japanese Politics. Taylor & Francis. p. 225. ISBN 9781136818387.
    • Michael W. Apple, ed. (2009). Global Crises, Social Justice, and Education. Routledge. p. 62. ISBN 9781135172787. Far-right politicians within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which achieved the half-century conservative political reign from 1955 to 1993, were nostalgic for the prewar elitist and imperial education system.
    • Sarah Hyde, ed. (2009). The Transformation of the Japanese Left: From Old Socialists to New Democrats. Routledge. p. XY. ISBN 9781135219758. Ever since the 1950s, and except for a brief period in the early 1990s, the central ruling force has been the Liberal Democratic Party, a broad church of interests and opinions ranging from the political centre to the extreme right.
    • Adam Gamble, Takesato Watanabe, ed. (2004). A Public Betrayed: An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West. Regnery Publishing. p. 255. ISBN 9780895260468. Since then, and right up until today , Japanese apologists, strongly supported by far-right publishers such as Bungeishunju Ltd. and Shinchosha Ltd., and including many top-ruling Liberal Democratic Party ( LDP ) officials ...
    • Adam Gamble, Takesato Watanabe, ed. (2004). A Public Betrayed: An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West. Regnery Publishing. p. 255. ISBN 9780895260468. Since then , and right up until today , Japanese apologists , strongly supported by far – right publishers such as Bungeishunju Ltd. and Shinchosha Ltd. , and including many top – ruling Liberal Democratic Party ( LDP ) officials ...
    • Trevor Harrison, ed. (2007). 21st century Japan: a new sun rising l Politics in Postwar Japan. Black Rose Books. p. 82. ... of the war and viewed the 1947 Constitution as illegitimate as it was written not by the Japanese people but forced upon the country by the U.S. Occupation Authority. Abe shares these beliefs, in common with many within the LDP's far right.
    • David E. Kaplan; Alec Dubro, eds. (2003). Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld. University of California Press. p. 60.
    • J. A. A. Stockwin, ed. (2003). Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Japan. Routledge. p. 88.
    • Searchlight, Issues 307–318. Searchlight. 2001. p. 31.
    • New Statesman Society. Statesman & Nation Publishing Company. 1995. p. 11.
    • David M. O'Brien, Yasuo goshi, ed. (1996). To Dream of Dreams: Religious Freedom and Constitutional Politics in Postwar Japan. University of Hawaii Press. p. 63. ISBN 9780824811662.
    • Asia Pacific Business Travel Guide. Priory Publications (Cornell University). 1994. p. 173.
    • Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Atomic Scientists of Chicago. 1983. p. 14. ... 12 Seirankai: an extreme-right faction formed within the LDP in July 1973; after Kim Dae Jung was abducted from ...
  13. ^
    • "Japan is having an election next month. Here's why it matters". The Japan Times. 22 November 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2020. When Abe appointed five female ministers in September, two of which were forced to step down over scandals, a number of political commentators viewed the move with some cynicism, suggesting that the prime minister didn't pay much attention to the qualifications of the candidates. Most of the women he chose were ultra-conservatives such as Eriko Yamatani, minister in charge of the North Korea abductee issue.
    • "Japan, led by less apologetic generation, stays tough in South Korea feud". Reuters. 8 August 2019. Retrieved 8 July 2020. Electoral system changes and three years in opposition helped ultra-conservative lawmakers and lobby groups strengthen their clout in the LDP.
  14. ^ a b The Liberal Democratic Party is widely described as conservative:
    • Roger Blanpain; Michele Tiraboschi; Pablo Arellano Ortiz (2008). The Global Labour Market: From Globalization to Flexicurity. Kluwer Law International. p. 268. ISBN 978-90-411-2722-8.
    • Jeff Kingston (2011). Japan in Transformation, 1945-2010. Routledge. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-317-86192-8.
    • Bradley Richardson (2001). "Japan's "1955 System" and Beyond". In Larry Diamond; Richard Gunther (eds.). Political Parties and Democracy. JHU Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-8018-6863-4.
    • Paul W. Zagorski (2009). Comparative Politics: Continuity and Breakdown in the Contemporary World. Routledge. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-135-96979-0.
    • Ray Christensen (2000). Ending the LDP Hegemony: Party Cooperation in Japan. University of Hawaii Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-8248-2295-8.
  15. ^ a b Sources describing the LDP as nationalist:
    • "The Resurgence of Japanese Nationalism". 22 July 2015. Archived from the original on 19 August 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
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    • "Why Steve Bannon Admires Japan". The Diplomat. 22 June 2018. In Japan, populist and extreme right-wing nationalism has found a home within the political establishment.
    • "Shinzo Abe and the rise of Japanese nationalism". New Statesman. 15 May 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2020. As a new emperor takes the throne, prime minister Abe is consolidating his ultranationalist "beautiful Japan" project. But can he overcome a falling population and stagnating economy?
    • "Japan's ruling conservatives have been returned to power, but amid voter frustration, challenges lurk for Kishida". The Conversation. 1 November 2021. Retrieved 26 November 2021. Japan's ruling conservative nationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will remain comfortably in power under its new prime minister Fumio Kishida, after the weekend's national election.
    • A Weiss (31 May 2018). Towards a Beautiful Japan: Right-Wing Religious Nationalism in Japan's LDP.
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  18. ^
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  22. ^ "Liberal-Democratic Party of Japan | political party, Japan". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
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    • Arve Hansen; Jo Inge Bekkevold; Kristen Nordhaug, eds. (2020). The Socialist Market Economy in Asia: Development in China, Vietnam and Laos. Springer Nature. p. 318. ISBN 9789811562488. Japan's economic miracle was largely formed under the leadership of the conservative right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), ...
    • Lam Peng Er; Purnendra Jain, eds. (2020). Japan's Foreign Policy in the Twenty-First Century: Continuity and Change. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 96. ISBN 9781498587969. The rising tide of hawkish nationalism and historical revisionism spearheaded by the right-wing LDP Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in recent decades seems to confirm the doubt.
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    • Katsuyuki Hidaka, ed. (2016). Japanese Media at the Beginning of the 21st Century. Routledge. ISBN 9781134988778. Criticism of the unreservedly right-wing Liberal Democratic Party administration led by Abe Shinzō nevertheless remains strong. Together with advocating for changes to the constitution, the Abe administration has succeeded in passing ...
    • S. Carpenter, ed. (2011). Japan's Nuclear Crisis: The Routes to Responsibility. Springer. p. 113. ISBN 9780230363717. Kodama quashed all things he regarded as remotely communist and consistently supported the right-wing LDP.
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    • Joy Hendry, ed. (2003). Understanding Japanese Society. Routledge. pp. 219–220. ISBN 9781134502561.
    • Ronald P. Dore, ed. (1990). British Factory Japanese Factory: The Origins of National Diversity in Industrial Relations, With a New Afterword. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520024953. For nearly two decades the right-wing Liberal-Democratic Party has domi-nated Japanese politics with nearly two-thirds of Diet seats.
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Bibliography

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  • Helms, Ludger (2013). Parliamentary Opposition in Old and New Democracies. Routledge Press. ISBN 978-1-31797-031-6.
  • Henderson, Jeffrey (2011). East Asian Transformation: On the Political Economy of Dynamism, Governance and Crisis. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-13684-113-2.
  • Köllner, Patrick. "The Liberal Democratic Party at 50: Sources of Dominance and Changes in the Koizumi Era", Social Science Japan Journal (Oct 2006) 9#2 pp 243–257.
  • Krauss, Ellis S., and Robert J. Pekkanen. "The Rise and Fall of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party", Journal of Asian Studies (2010) 69#1 pp 5–15, focuses on the 2009 election.
  • Krauss, Ellis S., and Robert J. Pekkanen, eds. The Rise and Fall of Japan's LDP: Political Party Organizations as Historical Institutions (Cornell University Press; 2010) 344 pages; essays by scholars
  • Scheiner, Ethan. Democracy without Competition in Japan: Opposition Failure in a One-Party Dominant State (Cambridge University Press, 2006)
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  • The official website of the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) (in English)