Liberal Democratic Party of Japan

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The logo of the LDP

The Japanese Liberal Democratic Party is the conservative, centre-right political party, currently in power in Japan. Abbreviated as the LDP (Jimintō) it is Japan's largest political party.

The LDP's roots can be traced to the 1880s and the groups established by Itagaki Taisuke and Okuma Shigenobu. However, the party came into being in November 1955, when the conservative Liberal Party (Jiyuto) and the Japan Democratic Party (Nihon Minshuto) united in response to the threat posed by a unified Japan Socialist Party, which had been established the month before. This merger came about in light of public opinion and sentiments within the liberal democratic camp itself, which caused the movement towards a "conservative alliance" to gain momentum at the beginning of 1953. Then, in November 1954, the Reform Party joined with the Japan Liberal Party to form the Japan Democratic Party (actually an ultra Nationalist Party) .

It has retained control of the National Diet for over 45 years, the LDP supported Japan's alliance with the United States and fostered close links between Japanese business and government. Election statistics show that the LDP has been able to secure a majority in the twelve House of Representatives elections from May 1958 until February 1990. It was only following charges of corruption in Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa's government, that it lost its parliamentary majority in the 1993 elections, which put a coalition government in power. In spite of numerous defections by LDP Members of Parliament over the party's failure to enact political reform, it still remained Japan's largest political party. The LDP returned to power in 1994, and has been the senior political partner in a series of coalition governments thereafter.[1]

From its formation, until 1993, when it became a simple majority in the lower House of Representatives, all of Japan's Prime Ministers have come from its ranks. Fumio Kishida, the current President of the LDP, is the Prime Minister of Japan.

Tenets of the Party

Liberal Democratic Party of Japan
Japanese name
Kanji 自由民主党

The Party's "Inaugural Declaration" begins by stating that -

Politics must serve the public interest. Politics are the means by which public stability and welfare are enhanced at home while national sovereignty is restored and conditions for peace are secured abroad. Fully conscious of these goals and duties, we hereby establish the Liberal Democratic Party and pledge ourselves to work through the popular will to uphold the principles and ideals of democracy.

The Party's basic philosophy is further illuminated by the following passage -

In establishing this Party, our primary political goal is to pursue mainstream parliamentary politics. We therefore reject all forces and ideologies that promote the use of violence, revolution, or dictatorship as political instruments. In addition, we affirm that respect for individual rights and dignity is the most basic premise of social order and adamantly oppose the imposition of dictatorship or class ideology by force.

External links